I was thinking about gifts I've received through the years. Sure there were some great surprises - the hand-woven wool coat from Chimayo, New Mexico that Bryan gave me one year, a gorgeous and warm wrap that was made in the centuries-old Spanish tradition. Beautiful, because he had seen me admire it and went back to get it for me without ever letting the secret slip. I was speechless when I opened it (and if you know me, you know I'm rarely without words!) The downpayment on our first house from Bryan's parents; the airline tickets for our first trip to Italy from mine - generous and indelibly memorable presents.
But the ones I think are most imprinted are the simple ones. Every year my grandmother gave us fresh grapefruit from Florida, for instance. Not a major expense, but when you live in frigid northern Ohio, the taste of fresh citrus imported from the sunny south is fabulous. I remember one year she wrapped three grapefruit in white tissue paper and formed a snowman, complete with cut-out paper hat, little pieces of charcoal glued on for eyes and a pipe-cleaner smile.
People have opened their larders wide and shared the bounty of their lands and their skills, which has deeply touched us. But as much as we enjoy being invited to partake, we have also been invited to participate, giving us the gift of community and feeling like we've become a part of it.
People here have given from their gardens, but many given from the heart in the form of friendship and a sense of belonging. And who could ask for more than that?
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