Tom’s Plan B…
Here we are in the middle of winter. In southern Indiana that means cold weather, freezing rain, gray skies, intermittent fog, and really tough fishing or hunting. It also means I’m about to have another birthday.
When you reach my age birthdays tend to be problematic. On one hand it’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative. On the other hand they mean more aches and pains, some more friends passing away, and my doctor telling me less stuff that I like to eat is actually “good for me.”
They also mean that our kids and grandkids will once again try to surprise me with some sort of gifts that, more often than not, I really don’t need or already have.
Just this week Dixie was on the phone with one of our daughter’s, talking unusually low and avoiding me as I prepared some appetizers moving from the kitchen to the family room. This went on for a few minutes before she hung up and sheepishly came in the room with a big suspicious smile.
“Who was that?”, I asked.
“Just Kristy”, she replied.
“What did she want?”, I inquired.
“Nothing I can discuss with you”, was my beloved bride’s reply.
Well, we’ve been married over 50 years, so I have seen this sort of behavior before. Lemme see here: It was a “stealth” call. It was with one of our daughters who we had just talked to the day before. And my birthday is coming up in just a few days. I may not be Sherlock Holmes, but I think I got this figured out.
Now the truth is I really don’t need anything. If I do I buy it. So does Dixie. No, we’re not rolling in dough, but at our age we’re more about simplification and getting rid of stuff than accumulation. So whatever Dixie and Kristy were discussing for my birthday was, in my opinion, not necessary.
Yea, we do need a new washer and dryer. Ours is pretty much shot after 20+ years. But I’m damn sure that wasn’t part of that conversation.
So I came up with Tom’s Plan B. And if you’re wondering where this is going and just how does it relate to hunting of fishing just hang in there. I will tell you soon enough….
My “Plan B” for Dixie, our kids, and our grandkids as far as recognizing my birthday (and probably any other occasion where presents are the traditional means of recognition) is simple: Instead of a present take whatever money you would have spent and do something totally unexpected for someone in need.
Pay for an animal’s adoption fee at the Humane Society for someone who would love to adopt an animal but doesn’t have the money. Buy a homeless person a restaurant gift card. Buy someone next to you at the gas pump a full tank of gas when they only put $10 in their tank and look like that’s all they can afford. Give an underprivileged kid a decent rod and reel and a small gift card for his bait. Take someone who can’t afford to go hunting on a day trip hunting. Or whatever would unexpectedly help someone who needs help.
I think this could be called “paying it forward” in one sense, but this isn’t the whole plan. Once you have done something totally unexpected for someone then get a card or some paper and an envelope and send me a note explaining what you did and how it made you feel. Include pictures if appropriate. That will be my present.
OK, I know this may not be everybody’s idea of the “perfect gift”, but at my age it is mine. And since I’m the guy who writes these stories here’s why I think it’s a good idea.
Today anyone 50 or younger seems to communicate using non-personal means. Texting, Twitter, Facebook, email, you name it. Anything that avoids personal human contact and is electronic. Shoot, I’ve seen my grandkids set around the dinner table and text each other before we leave the table!
You want to help someone? Easy. Go online and you can donate to practically any charity you can think of. They make it so simple and, unfortunately, impersonal. So I wanted to find something that would require face-to-face human contact. Human intervention. Human compassion. Human emotions. No electronics. No texting. Just one-on-one.
Yes, I understand gifts and giving are traditional and create some wonderful times, but at some point (certainly the point where Dixie and I are at) the best gift is a unique gift. It’s not wrapped in colorful paper, wasn’t ordered from Amazon or Target, didn’t cause any stress because it was shipped late. Didn’t spoil in transit from the producer to us.
No, the best gift, Tom’s Plan B gift, is a gift of compassion, respect, enlightenment, and most importantly, love for one’s fellow man.
Maybe if this plan catches on we can slowly change the world. Or at least the world of our immediate family. That would be the greatest gift of all.
Thanks to all of you who have become our friends through American Legacy Fishing & Outdoors. We truly appreciate your friendship and trust. We are only here because of you. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Tight lines and happy hunting,