Wednesday, April 15, 2009

That thing

Ever gotten a gift from someone that said everything? Something that was just so unmistakably you that you knew the person who gave it to you truly knew you and appreciated you better than just about anyone? I'm not necessarily talking about a diamond necklace or a Rolex watch (things anyone would enjoy), but more likely some little trinket that might cost next to nothing, yet is something you absolutely love or represents something you absolutely love; a gift so appropriate and special that, when thinking about the remarkable thought put into giving it to you, it almost brings you to tears. Only once do I recall having received such a gift.

Don't get me wrong, I've been given some incredibly generous and thoughtful things from friends and family over the years on birthdays, Christmases, graduations etc... for which I am very grateful; everything from iPod's to GPS's to nifty cell phones to primo Padres' seats. (It also must be noted that I'm not even a fan of receiving gifts in the first place; they often make me feel awkward and I much prefer giving them.) But in recent memory, only once do I remember being given that one thing that was so astonishingly mindful and showed such a thorough understaning of me as a person that it knocked me off my feet.

It was from my great-uncle Donnie in St. Louis and he sent it to me for my college graduation. He is an actor himself, he has performed onstage and on-screen and taught acting for several decades, and was kind enough to send me his copy of Shakespeare's Complete Works from the 1940's. His notes from years long passed still scribbled inside, he had held it dear since being a young actor in the USO in the Pacific during World War II. There he befriended another young actor named Raymond Burr, who later earned fame and fortune as television's Perry Mason.

When you open the cover of my great-uncle's Complete Works, on the first page it reads,

To Don
Happy Birthday
Raymond Burr

It was a gift given to him from his would-be famous actor friend. He read it and cherished it for over sixty years, then he gave it to me because he knew how much I would appreciate it. And it is truly invaluable to me. The book itself looks like a Bible, and it has been my Bible ever since having received it.

With my birthday fast approacing, I've been wondering if there exists anything that could potentially have as profound an impact on me as Great-Uncle Donnie's gift. I've discovered that there is at least one thing that would. It's something that encapsulates several of the things I'm most passionate about and is something I've desperately wanted for quite a long time but have never gotten. What is it? It's nothing more than a movie... but a splendiferous one! Which one, you ask?

Well, if you insist...


  1. Too cool...

    "To Don
    Happy Birthday
    Raymond Burr"

    Beyond words.

    And the fact that you put The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" in the same ballpark gives me a hint why I'm enjoying your posts so much. I've been a Beatles fan since they were still together... and love how their music continues to live on through time and "generations" (though I'm not a big fan of that artificial delineation... but I digress... frequently).

  2. Agreed on all accounts, Joe! And thanks for reading my blog. It's good to know that I do have an audience, albeit a small one :)