The Perfect Gift

“The best kind of prize is a surprise.” That quote uttered by Johnny Depp’s character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory never rang more true than today. After a long and sleepless night where I looked at the clock more times than Chris Young struck out last season; Christmas morning finally arrived. While the kids rested quietly in their beds I was up pacing the floor waiting for them to get up. What a weird turn of events. It is usually the kids who are up early while the parents are begging for a few more minutes of sleep before getting up to begin the gift unwrapping extravaganza. But then most parents probably have not been waiting for an Arizona Diamondbacks National League Western Division Championship sweatshirt for nearly three months either. So with some well placed noises and rustling the other members of my family finally awoke from their slumber and got up. We all rushed downstairs to see what wonderful gifts Santa Claus had left us during his late night visit.

The room was filled with gifts of varying sizes and shapes. In the center of the floor were two large piles of gifts. Atop the first pile was a sign in North Pole script that said “The Summers Kids” while atop the second pile was a similar sign that said, “Jeff and Trina”. I was extremely torn as to which pile I belonged. Trina changed her tune from previous statements where she referred to me as one of the children and explained that I belonged in the pile with her leaving the other one for the kids. The children tore open the gifts to find a new Microsoft Xbox 360 with all the trimmings including Guitar Hero III. I immediately began complaining that I was being forced into the wrong pile as I was sure I belonged with the Xbox gang. Trina suggested perhaps we should open our pile and I reluctantly agreed still wishing I was part of the group who was now taking inventory of which games they had received for the Xbox 360. My regrets were short lived when I realized that Santa brought Trina and I a new Blu-Ray player which was also capable of playing DVD in near High Definition resolution. At last I could finally watch the 2001 World Series DVD in full resolution, this was going to be excellent. Although I was thrilled with the Blu-Ray player and the stack of movies that should keep me occupied at least until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training; I could not help but think about the present somewhere buried under the tree that contained my long-lost sweatshirt. Trina could tell the suspense was just about killing me and decided to put an end to my misery. She retrieved a box from under the tree with a tag that stated “To Dad, From Tiffany”. The box did not look large enough to contain a sweatshirt but I was nonetheless excited at the prospects that I would finally have my NL West Champions sweatshirt. I tore open wrapping paper and lifted the lid to the box. I moved away the tissue paper expecting to see a black sweatshirt. Instead I found in the box a black leather looking binder. The sight of the binder confused me and I paused to try and understand its meaning. I carefully took the book out of the box and opened the cover. There within the binding was the most perfect Christmas gift I had ever seen. Tiffany had taken all of the issues of D-Backs Insider Magazine that contained the articles I wrote and had placed my articles within the pages of this binder. She augmented that with photos from the games that we attended during the 2007 season. My heart melted at the thought of all the hard work she went to building this book of memories. Within the binding of this book were the memories that would stay with me for a life time along with all of my articles. For the rest of my life I will cherish this book and what it means. It is not just the words of a devoted fan but it is the love of a game and the sharing of that love with my children. From the moment I opened that gift I forgot all about the sweatshirt. My Christmas was complete.

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