William was a little nervous about Christmas this year. He did not have enough money to spend on gifts so he did what he thought was best. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that it was Christmas morning he was not so sure. Books, after all are something people usually only read once, then they just sit in the shelf. Two weeks ought to be enough time to read a book!
He was very happy with the selection. He thought carefully what everyone in his family would like and hand picked a book from the enormous selection that was available … so many to choose from. He waited until Christmas eve day to pick them out to maximize the time.
The gifts were all passed out with everyone sitting in a circle around the living room with their pile of gifts. The usual tradition of everyone in the family taking turns opening gifts in a clockwise direction was underway. Two whole rounds passed before anyone picked up one of his gifts to open. His father was the first.
His heart started pounding as adrenaline began to course through his body. He started to doubt it was a good idea at all … and why did it have to be his father to open the first one … the man whose approval meant the most to him.
As an avid golfer his father loved the history book of golf in the USA. His smile was big as he flipped through the pages. Obviously it was a used book, but that did not matter too much to him. He knew his son had been struggling in the latest economic down turn. But then he noticed the number on the binding and then the bar code. His smile quickly turned to a concerned frown as he opened the front cover, “Property of the South City Public Library.”
“What?” his father questioned, “what is this?” he turned to William. “It’s a book from the library,” William replied as his voice started to quiver. “I didn’t have enough money for gifts so …,” He stopped explaining when his sister was the first to chuckle. Everyone dug through their pile of gifts, breaking the sequence of turn taking and opened theirs immediately. Every single one, while carefully thought out for each recipient, a library book. The laughter filled the room, Cousin Billy was laughing so hard he was on the floor holding his belly.
William was thoroughly embarrassed, but also felt a little joy knowing he brought this laughter to the family for Christmas. This will be one to remember. As the laughter died down to a point his voice could be heard, albeit with a yell, he shouted, “There is a due date in the back, please make sure you read it and return it by then.”
Then he began to wonder if they would return them so he wouldn’t get stuck with a lofty fine. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Except Cousin Elise … he knew he could count on her. She always returns everyone’s gifts.