“You know,” Stan Bowers was saying, “sometimes I really envy my daughter, Dena, not because she’s got me for a dad and not because she’s so cute and smart and just about everything I ever wanted in a daughter even long before I ever had a daughter.
“It’s because she’s so darn good at picking out presents.
“Not many people are very good at that. I’ve gotten a lot of gift cards, though,” I said.
“I’ve never seen her give anyone a gift card,” he went on, “I’ve often gotten the impression that people are looking forward to opening a present from her, not just because it’s a present, but because they always know it will be special, something they either wouldn’t have thought to get for themselves, but love, or something they were hoping someone would get for them, or something they’ve always wanted.”
“What’s the coolest present she’s ever gotten you?” I asked.
“They’ve all been cool!” he said. “Last year she took me to dinner at a restaurant I didn’t even know she knew I knew about, one that I’d been thinking about, but hadn’t gotten around to visiting. Two years ago it was to a little show I never heard of, but loved. A few years ago it was tickets to a Tony Bennett show. You know, I’d never managed to see Bennett anywhere but on TV.”
“But tickets to see him are so expensive,” I said.
“Not when we were younger,” he pointed out. “Anyway, last weekend at the little party we had for my wife she gave what I thought was the first “fall-on-your-face” present I ever saw her give. Lisa opens the big, but very light box and inside is a piece of paper that says, “This is a gift of time, an entire day that I will spend just with you.”
“What kind of gift is that?” I asked.
“Exactly,” he said, “I gave Lisa a book, nothing special, just something I thought she might like to read. Anyway, yesterday, Lisa cashes in on her gift of time. The two leave together, are gone all day and Lisa loves it, says it’s one of the best presents she’s ever gotten. They had brunch together, went shopping, saw an afternoon matinee, had dinner, went to a quiet little bar and came home.
“When she finished talking about it I said, ‘since you had so much fun, Honey, I want to add to my gift and give you pretty much the same deal as Dena. I want to give you a gift of my time. How about six hours?"
So, according to my watch, I’ve got another half-hour to kill before she’ll let me back home.”