Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Gift

Last night as Hyper and I sat at home trying to finish last minute Christmas stuff I received the best Christmas gift I could have ever received. Mom has a bunch of VHS tapes of us from horse shows from over the years and I had decided that for Christmas I was going to try to transfer these to DVD for her. I sat in front of the recorder trying to comprehend the directions on which of the million buttons to push and in which order to make it actually do what I wanted it to do. I then glanced thru the tapes that I had taken from Mom's when one catches my eye. It's not one I recognize. It's not labeled with a show name or location. Or a specific horse's name as most of them are. It simply reads "XXX Trip". Curiously I put it in and press play. The Eagle Mountain Stables appears as the cameraman walks down the hall of the barn. I realize this must be a copy of tape from the trip some friends from WWWW had made when they were up visiting. I almost pressed stop but then one of my favorite horses from growing up appears on the screen.

My finger lingered over the stop button, my attention captivated as the camera panned to my Dad and Guy trying to catch one our young cows. Others appear and I laugh at the antics of so many people trying to catch this calf, Dad's voice barking orders from someplace off screen. Then dad turns and gives his classic look of shrugging his shoulders while smiling and slightly rolling his eyes. I was used to that look. This was the look he always gave when someone wasn't doing something the way he had told them to do it, when in reality if it were done his way the task would be complete. I hate to admit it but alot of times I did things the hard way when perhaps I should have just done it his way.

Then the camera cuts off and when it comes back on Dad is sitting there playing the guitar. For two years Mom and I have said we wished we had a recording of Dad playing his guitar, neither of us realizing this tape existed. For two years we have called friends that were at horse shows with us hoping one of them had a tape of everyone after the show gathered around while Dad played. We had never found one.

Then all of a sudden its later in the day and it is only Dad and myself on the screen. You can hear every ones voices as they are gathered in the living room talking and deep in conversations. In the kitchen oblivious to everyone else I sit on a bar stool at the counter and Dad is standing across from me. He is playing the guitar and both of us are singing. Its obvious we don't know we are being filmed. As I watch I can't help but to start crying. After two years I had nearly forgotten what his voice sounded like. Now I had this special father daughter moment on tape and it meant more to me than any gift I could have received.

Mom and I have watched all those tapes several times over the past few years; laughing at Dad at the horse shows enjoying just being able to see him. How had this tape been overlooked for so long? It was right there with the rest of them. How come I had never seen it, or even remembered seeing it's label? As strange as it may sound I think this was my Christmas present from Dad this year. And it's the greatest gift I have ever received.

Christmas isn't about gifts, or material items. The best gifts in life are free. I hope you all have a magical Christmas.

Phoebe, "Chandler, your being here is the best Christmas present I could have ever imagined."
Chandler, (Flattered) "Aw."
Phoebe, "Now give me my real gift."
~ Friends ~

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