Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life's most lasting gifts don't come in boxes

Sunday morning, children around the world woke up and ran to the Christmas tree, anxious to see what Santa brought them.

Maybe they got toys. Maybe they got clothes. Maybe they got gift cards. Who knows. But surely they got memories. And over the years, they’ll get lessons. The toys they’ll forget. The lessons will stay with them.

A couple weeks ago, I was making Kool Aid. I got the Kool Aid packets, put them in the pitcher, added sugar and asked my girlfriend Heather to get me the wooden spoon out of the drawer.

Handing it to me, she asked, “Why wooden?”

I had no answer for her other than, “Because I always use the wooden spoon. I always have. I have no idea why.”

In short, I do it that way because I do it that way.

I asked my friends on Facebook if they had any similar oddities, explaining my wooden spoon Kool Aid story.

Oddly, most of them stirred their Kool Aid with a wooden spoon, too. More odd is that no one really knew why either. There were theories, but no hard science.

A quick Google search was sure to find me a reason that I always use the wooden spoon. I turned up dozens of search results for how to make Kool Aid. Almost all of them said “stir with wooden spoon.” None of them said why.

Thinking about it further, it occurred to me that my mom always made Kool Aid with a wooden spoon.

“Mom, why do I stir my Kool Aid with a wooden spoon?” I asked her.

She said she had no idea why I did, but said that she always used a wooden spoon when I was growing up.

“So why did you use a wooden spoon?”

“Probably because it was longest spoon that I had,” she answered.

So in essence, I use a wooden spoon because mom did. And no other reason.

It’s just one of many “gifts” that I’ve gotten from my mother over the years. I might not know when or why I got them, but they’ve stuck with me a lot longer than tinker toys or a “Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”

Some of life’s best gifts aren’t wrapped. They aren’t given to you on your birthday or Christmas. And many you don’t even remember getting. But you keep them forever.