Gift Suggestions Appreciated

Okay, y’all. Who ages this well, for real? I’m hoping I inherit the skin tone and lack of wrinkles except in all the right, distinguished places. It’s all about the smile/laugh lines.

I only go home to visit a few times a year, and it has to be an important occasion for that to happen. This weekend I’ll be visiting my hometown for my dad’s birthday. He will be 57 on March 8. I can’t believe that he’s getting close to 60. My parents both still seem totally young and cool to me. The way I know they’re cool people is that  if we were the same age, I totally would want to hang out with them and be in their circle. They are my BEST friends. I’m not sure many people can say that about their parents. If I heard someone say that, I would probably assume that they were uncool. Usually parents are not quite up to speed. Like, my parents don’t know who Jay-Z is, but they know a lot of other things about life that are way more important than popular culture.

Anyway, like most dads, my dad is one of the most difficult people on the planet to buy gifts for, or to surprise in any way. So, I desperately need your help in sussing out gift ideas. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t read my blog, nor does he probably read any blog. So I don’t feel too bad talking about him publicly here, even though my mom gets really upset when I write about anything that could be connected back to them.

Let me tell you a little about him. For starters, he is kick ass. He is, in a lot of ways, the male version of me. I’ll probably spend my life trying to find someone who measures up to him. It’s a tall order. I’m not saying he’s perfect. He has some flaws. Like everyone. But overall, he is one amazing dude.

He is talented, creative, and artistic. He is an amazingly talented musician — he plays guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, piano, Appalachian dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, AND sings. I could be forgetting something.

He (like me) is happiest when he’s creating something and working with his hands.  He works way too much and doesn’t leave enough time for down time or relaxation. He doesn’t know the meaning of those words. He could work twenty-five hours a day and still feel like he didn’t accomplish enough. He is completely dedicated to the things in life he believes to be important, like historical preservation, good friends, craftsmanship, music, cultural heritage, education in whatever form, and supporting me. He is a writer whose vocabulary astounds me, even in regular emails.

His “hobby” (the quotation marks are because it’s more like a second job) is building musical instruments in the garage. Who am I kidding? It’s never been the garage. Since 1986, it’s been his workshop and nothing else. No one has ever even thought about trying to park a car in there.

He is a teacher, and even though he could teach a college level history class on pretty much any time period imaginable, or Celtic culture, or how to be an awesome person, he chooses to teach high school kids without a ton of potential how to make furniture and other things so they can actually get a job when they graduate instead of dropping out. He addresses a segment of society that really needs help, and they love him. They call him randomly at home. They stop by to visit him working in his workshop at home. How many of your high school teachers did you like enough to go visit them at home? He provides kids with something that’s hard to come by in the technological age, and that is pride in their ability to create something concrete. As an artist, I know how important that can be. I think he fantasizes about things like moving to Ireland and playing music in a pub professionally where he’d get free Guinness and make a living selling his awesome instruments to authentic musicians. But he sticks it out in small town USA, being a great husband and dad and member of the community.

I think this all speaks to his natural acceptance of people. You’d have to be a pretty shitty person for my dad to not like you or not think you were worthy of his attention in some way, shape, or form. He is so open-minded. He will think you’re awesome until (unless) you give him a reason to think otherwise. He ALWAYS gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and assumes that you have the best of intentions unless you prove otherwise. BUT he’s a smart dude. Whenever you ask his opinion of anything, it’s always very objective and very well thought out. He’s the oldest of three children, and whenever my Nana flies off to her latest destination, he is the one who waits in the airport until he’s sure her plane has safely departed. And I can ask him questions like, “Did you get a weird vibe from that person?” And he doesn’t think that’s a weird question at all and will tell me completely honestly what he thinks. As far as I know, he’s never been anything but honest with me. And that is a really important thing in a friend. You don’t really expect that from parents, but you do from friends, and I guess what I”m saying is that my parents are more like friends to me than parents. But in a good way. Not in a stupid, we don’t care what you do kind of way. They are real people.

My dad has a hard time saying no. He wants to make everyone happy. I totally get that. It’s only been recently (within the last year or so) that I’ve reached the point of shutting needy people out. And it is still a struggle. I come by it honestly, and I try on a daily basis to be true to myself. Something I learned from my parents.

So, what exactly do you get this guy for his birthday? Whenever he wants something specific, he just buys it. Because he doesn’t have a lot of wants for material things. And that’s usually totally random things like a particular hat or a shop vac. I need something cool and meaningful. Usually he seems to like most the presents I make myself, whether it’s a mix CD or a poignant song verse in a frame.

Any suggestions? I’m open to creativity and also to making something myself. I want to give him something cool and meaningful, but like with most of the cool guys in my life, I’m once again at a loss.




  1. March 2, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Your dad IS really awesome. I’m no help on the gifts, though…I never know what to get for my own dad either. In recent years it’s been concert/show tickets whenever possible.

  2. Aaron LEsher said,

    March 4, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Agreed. Your dad is pretty kick ass, although I always wondered what he thought about me. What about going home on his birthday weekend and cooking his favorite meal?

    • meggitymegs said,

      March 8, 2010 at 5:06 am

      Dad had to take Nana to the airport on Saturday, so we just had a pizza and cake when he got home, and watched a sci-fi movie. I ended up giving him a goody bag of some of his favorite food items, like fancy mustard, chocolate-covered espresso beans, pralines, good coffee, etc. He always appreciates food. 🙂

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