Once upon a time, my grandmother was a wonderful giver of gifts. She always knew just the right thing to delight the recipient...
Er, not exactly true. When I was a small child, she always gave me clothes. No child wants to open a box and find a new outfit instead of the doll they had their eyes on for months at the toy shop. Well, my sister did. She loved getting clothes... All right...
My grandmother, an excellent gift giver when it came to everyone else on the planet, never knew quite what to get me. I guess I was a mystery to her. As evidence of this, I present...
By 2005, I was used to getting gifts from Grandma that didn't make much sense to me. I was well-versed in "It's the thought that counts" and grateful for everything she gave, even if it went in the back of a closet. But the monkey... oh, that monkey!
Honestly, it floored me. I couldn't imagine what she was thinking when she bought it, and why she decided to give it me. I hate monkeys. Hate is a strong word... Monkeys kind of freak me out a little. But Grandma thought it would make a nifty planter or candy jar, and who better to appreciate it?
At the time, I was a regular blogger on a group author site called the Whine Sisters. I blogged about Grandma's Gift of the Year (Century?) and it became a sort of Whine Sisters mascot. Occasionally, I still get questions about the monkey. It has a place of honor on my bookshelf and now it reminds me of Grandma, who passed away in 2010. I keep stamps in it.
My dear friend Julia London, who was also a founding Whine Sister, was amused to show me a shop called The Brass Monkey when we were in New Orleans together recently for RT. We shared a laugh and a toast to Grandma.
The monkey even makes a special appearance in Thornbrook Park, with a slight makeover to become one of a pair of gilded monkey bookends. Now when you read it, you'll maybe smile and know that the monkey is a hidden tribute to my grandmother.
Have you ever gotten a special gift like the monkey? Is there someone who just doesn't get you when it comes to giving you gifts?
Thornbrook Park, an Edwardian romance, is out now. To celebrate the release of Thornbrook Park, I'll be giving away prizes all month, a new prize every Monday. Just comment on my website or at my Facebook page at any time during the week and you'll be entered to win (winner chosen at random from the week's commenters). This week's prize is a Betsey Johnson teacup necklace and a signed copy of Thornbrook Park. Come on over, and good luck!