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Article Archive >> Community

Daze of My Life: Silence Can Be Golden

Daze of My Life
Silence Can Be Golden

Since my wife, Dina's, birthday will be appearing on the calendar much sooner than later, early June, in fact, six weeks or so from the date of this first draft, I thought it prudent to give the occasion some thought, for a change.
The reason being, the longer a couple are together, the more difficult it becomes to find the perfect gift - to me, anyhow - the one that combines your ideas, her expectations and the family's budget.
When working within certain perimeters, or shall I be honest and say, confines of fiscal realities that constrain and restrain and cause some of us to even abstain, from overly generous and/or creative gift giving, each birthday/anniversary/holiday provides yet another opportunity to right previous wrongs or at the very least, even the score (not that any one's actually counting, but human nature being what it is, it is much harder to forget something that someone else really remembers).
After so many years of hitting and mostly missing the gift target, it's tempting to revisit the few successful times when something I bought - or something
I did - as a gift to/for my wife, actually had the intended effect.
Unfortunately, I have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that left alone to my own gift-giving devices, I will disappoint. As a result, other than jewelry, leather goods, cash and gift certificates (which I mostly received specific instructions concerning), it's fairly easy to identify the winning gift, since the pickings are rather slim. And so as I recount the nearly 30 years of mostly unsuccessful gift-giving, the standout winner is a non-cash gift I gave to my wife, again per her request.
Given that I am a morning person and Dina is not (she's barely an afternoon person), and that she likes - or needs - to sleep, and I, not so much, our mornings, particularly on the weekends are not exactly well-coordinated or in sync, if you will. Add to the potential conflict the fact that I'm a talker ("chatter like a magpie" has been one of her characterizations) and Dina, especially in the morning, is not so much a listener, to me, anyhow, my present to her on her birthday was, silence. I promised that I would not talk to her on her birthday until she spoke to me, however long it took, however many cups of coffee later, however many errands I had to run, I would not communicate with her until she was good and ready. If I had to leave unexpectedly, if there was something I felt I had to say, I further promised that I would leave a handwritten note, confirming that under no circumstances would I disturb her. (Which after so many years of marriage, I don't agree that I would be disturbing her, I maintain that she is being disturbed by me. A matter of perspective? Perhaps.
A point of contention? Sort of. An act of love? From me, absolutely!)
And believe it or not, though there wasn't any cash or cash equivalents presented, Dina admitted to me - and to many others with whom she shared this story - that my gift to her of silence was one of the best gifts she ever received; thoughtful, considerate, unique and loving. It wasn't particularly romantic or expensive (obviously) but nevertheless, it was a gift that was greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of gift that one can re-give, as in give again, not give someone something that someone else has gave to you that you don't like so you give it to someone else ("Seinfeld") And so as June, 2007 fast approaches, I am keenly aware (or is that because I've been keenly told) that re-visiting the past is this manner is not likely to reward me in the future.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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