Monday, December 22, 2008

The NOT So Perfect Christmas Gift

A few years back, my father in-law, Vic was living with us. On several occasions, I would call home to make sure he was doing all right but the phone would just ring and ring until the answering machine clicked on.

I would rush home, throw open the door to hear the television cranked up as loud it could go and see Vic sitting the recliner. Vic would look up, smile, and say, “Oh, hi Ralph, you’re home kind of early.” My heart would be racing, my blood pressure up, and my hands together as if they wanted to strangle him.

We would talk about why he didn’t answer the phone. The conversation would always end the same way, Vic would say, “I guess I didn’t hear it.” Well, no kidding! His hearing was bad, half the time his hearing aids were turned down or the batteries were dead, and the television was blasting away.

This gave me an idea on what to get him for Christmas. I hate shopping but I shopped and shopped until I found the perfect gift. I bought Vic the grandest of phones. It had every feature I was looking for and more. It had adjustable volume on the earpiece, an adjustable volume on the ringer, a light that would flash when the phone was ringing, a large LED display so you could see who was calling or the number you were dialing, one touch speed dialing, and a speaker phone. As an added bonus, the touch-tone buttons were slightly larger than a quarter for easy dialing. I had found the perfect Christmas gift – the deluxe Big Button phone.

Finally, Christmas morning arrived. DOR (Daughter of Ralph) was home from school, SOR (Son of Ralph) came over and we were ready to open presents. When I handed Vic my present he smiled. He unwrapped it, stared at it for a minute, then uttered those now famous words, “I knew I was hard of hearing but didn’t know I was blind.” He laid the phone down and sat there like a kid waiting and hoping the next present was something he wanted.

After the gifts were open, everyone was going about their business and I started cooking breakfast. Vic took his usual place in the recliner. That’s when I noticed the deluxe big button phone hadn't moved.

Much to her credit, Char stepped in. She took the phone out the box, hooked it up, and started showing Vic all the features the phone had. Occasionally I’d hear Vic say the words “not blind” or “pretty big buttons”.

Vic never used the phone. Sometimes the size of the gift does matter.


Blogger possum said...

Sounds almost like the phone I gave my aunt. Really made her mad. But we took it with her when we had to put her in the nursing home. She did like the buttons on the top that she could push and get specific people without having to remember their numbers. And the nurses liked the fact that they could get my pager with the push of one button.
The phone is here now... reprogrammed...
love those big numbers!
Great story, Ralph - as usual!

12:26 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I knew Vic. Vic was a friend of mine. If he didn't like the phone, then it wasn't a good phone.
Great story Ralph. Keep it up.
(the stories)

6:28 PM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

My siblings and I exhausted ourselves buying phones for mother. She never got excited but always tried to use each one because, as she insisted, each phone was what WE wanted and not what she wanted. She knew where she was at any given moment.

Ralph, you need to read the joke at Wayne John's. I think it's up your alley.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Well Ralph he wasn't blind after all!! Teehee!

We got my Dad one with a really loud ring so he could hear it. It worked great too! Dad was never one to make many phone calls though, but he would answer if we called him. How I wish I could call him now. Sigh.

I loved reading this story Ralph. Your FIL sounds like he was a great guy!

Merry Christmas to you and Char and all the rest of your family! Eat lots, hug lots, and let the snow pile up!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

lol. it's all about denial.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Live Well, Laugh Often & Love Much said...

Well all I can say is I am glad I am a part of the family, what fun we will have with you !

Great Post !

10:00 AM  
Blogger ralph said...

Yeah desiree - you are pretty lucky!!! LOL

4:55 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

I pretty much knew which way the story was gonna go. I'm living that life now, you know. Only my Dad IS blind, and still won't use a one-button dial phone.

Ralph, I just want to thank you for all the hard work you did for Blogstock, even if Desiree tries to take all the credit.

It was such a pleasure to meet you. I think we are brothers from different mothers to be sure.

Have a great Campbell Christmas. Let's get together at Cliff's sometime. He's a darn good cook.

10:36 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

A great post, Ralph.

I hope Santa brings you exactly what you want.

And I wish for you and Char nothing but joy today - and PEACE.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

That's very funny! To add to the fun, I should tell you that yesterday for Christmas, I gave Cliff a phone that is hearing aid compliant and has big buttons. What timing you have!! ahaha

7:45 AM  
Blogger nora said...

Ha! My dad never hears his cell phone and when he does he talks loudly on it where ever he is. I was trying different ring tones with him yesterday. Someone suggested that I program my niece screaming "Answer the phone Grandpa!" as the ring.

On a side note, Dad put dots of Velcro all over the phone so it wouldn't slide out of his pocket. It added just a touch of frustration to the experience for his long haired daughter. I can't tell you how many time the damn thing got stuck in my hair.

But any day I get to try to do something for Dad is a good day.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister is 20 years older than me and when she's in my presence, she WHISPERS so no can hear her but me. When she calls me, she YELLS so that I can hear her. She called Christmas night to tell me how much she hated the gift my OTHER sister had given her. My OTHER sister was sitting ACROSS THE ROOM from me and HEARD EVERY WORD. *sigh*

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a Christmas tale... my dad was blind - a feisty blind - so the attitude is familiar.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Wishing you a very Happy New Year! ~ Deb

5:49 PM  

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