Several years ago, my husband's parents joined my family at my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Standing watch on her front steps sits a concrete goose, lovingly dressed up with a cute little hat reflecting the holiday. It stands a little over a foot tall and fits in nicely with her potted plants and whimsical aesthetic. As we arrived, my in-law's commented on the goose and mentioned they liked it.
That was when it started; the moment the wheels started turning, so to speak.
My husband, Mike, starts taking mental notes right around Halloween. If someone on his Christmas list even utters the words "I want..." he will rush out to buy what ever it is, eager to please. Nearly ten years of marriage has taught me to be careful of what I wish for, because if I mention toaster ovens or crockpots that's what I'll get it for Christmas. I'm more of a Coach bag type of girl.
Anyway, a week later we were trying to decide on what to get his parents for Christmas. At the time, they lived in Northern California and we were in Southern California, so we planned to purchase a gift online to be directly shipped to them. We tossed ideas around... I suggested fresh Alaskan salmon, or a night in a New Mexican B&B, even sweaters, but nothing seemed to ring his bell, until he remembered the goose.
Immediately, I was unsure of his choice. I figured it was far more likely they were just being nice... for example, I like giraffes but it doesn't mean I WANT one. Not that the goose isn't lovely, it is... it just doesn't fit their contemporary, southwestern style. We went back and forth about it, but eventually I relented. They were, after all, his parents and he obviously knew them better than I did.
We started by googling 'concrete goose' and searching websites. After quite a bit of hunting, we found one in Colorado who not only sold the geese, but little outfits especially designed to fit any personality. We both agreed the little leather biker outfit was perfect for them since riding is one of their favorite things to do. It didn't take me long to get excited right along with my husband, who was on top of the world... in his mind he was envisioning the smiles and joy they would experience as they opened this amazing gift of concrete and leather. Out came the VISA and within a few minutes and $150 later, it was a done deal. We high fived eachother on a job well done.
A couple of weeks later Mike called me with the news. His parents had received thier custom goose and were anything but pleased. I remember the "What the hell are we supposed to do with this thing?" and sound of my husbands dissapointment as he relayed to me the details of the call.
I felt so bad for him... he actually shed a tear or two. I was angry at my in-law's for their reaction to a gift. To not like a gift is one thing, but to actually get mad about it is, in my opinion, completly rude and inconsiderate. I fought back the "I told you so's..." and lent sympathy to his hurt ego.
A couple of years went by and the goose was all but forgotten. One day we were visiting his grandparents in Hesperia. I was nursing at the time and the baby was hungry, so I went to the family room to sit quietly and feed my son. I sat there looking about the room. We rarely went to that house so I was not overly familiar with it's layout or it's decor, but out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention. I looked over and there it was... the goose standing proudly in the front hall, dressed in all its leather glory... all four feet of it.
It was then I understood why his dad was so upset by the gift. I mean really, who really wants a four foot tall, leather clad, concreate goose greeting their guests? Can we say TACKY?
I started laughing and called Mike over to where I sat and pointed to the goose. We both laughed about it and made a point of calling his parents on the way home to tell them we finally understood their reaction.
In the end, although the gift was hated by the recipients, it has since provided me with an abundance of laughter. I think we all can relate to getting a gift we less than love, but I can admit I'm guilty of giving one of the worst gifts ever and each year that has gone by, as I order the fresh Alaskan salmon for my in-law's I laugh about it all over again.