Very few gifts stand out in my memory, other than the births of our two baby girls. However, the story that gets repeated more often is the one about our first married Christmas.
It was 1973 and we were in our early twenties, living in a nice little apartment in Orange County, California. We’d graduated from college earlier that year. I was working in a photo studio. He was working at the US Geological Survey, where he worked until his retirement just over thirty years later.
We had begun setting routines and habits for ourselves as a couple. Who got up first, who took the first shower, who made coffee, who made dinner, who did laundry. As you can imagine, this was a process.
I got up earlier because I had a longer drive to work, so it had become my habit to make the coffee, then shower while it brewed. I made the coffee because I was up first. It made sense, sort of.
But that first Christmas, my darling husband, gave me a gift to make my life easier. No, he didn’t volunteer to get up with me and make the coffee. Instead, he bought me a timer for the coffee pot, so I could make the coffee the night before and it would be ready when I got up.
As a new bride, I was less than impressed. There may have been tears.
But he’s a gadget guy and simply loves to find technological solutions to everyday problems. Nonetheless, sometime after the timer incident, we established that anything with a plug was NOT an appropriate gift–unless it had been specifically asked for. I did once ask for a bread machine.
As our marriage continued our habits changed. And coffee makers evolved into machines with built-in timers.
Some years later, he did manage to surprise me by sneaking a big loose diamond I’d been given by a dear friend out of my jewelry box. He had it set into a gorgeous ring, which I love and wear every day.
And today, nearly fifty years later, my coffee was hot and fresh in the kitchen when I finally got up. And I didn’t make it.
I think that qualifies as memorable.