Good Gifts Come In Strange Containers

Feature Story December 2004
“Good Gifts Come In Strange Containers”
Dr. Keith Heim
Candy was a rarity when I was a kid, and one made the most of his opportunities. When I was about four, I received a nice pocketknife (pen knife) with a calico pearl handle. I was really proud of it. Every other year, we went to my Mother’s folks in Humboldt, and every other to my Dad’s folks up the road. I preferred the latter since they had more accessible candy – like the home made divinity made by Aunt Adah James, fudge, and even boughten chocolates – UMMMMMMMM! That particular year, the Heim side had the “advantage”. I took the knife along to show everyone, and when the novelty wore off, I began the task for the day – eating all the candy I could possibly put down while passing the table as casually as I could. I was good at it, and in no time I was half sick. We had the usual huge meal and then an afternoon of visiting.

About 4 o’clock, my Dad announced that it was time to do the chores, and we began to pack up to go home. Suddenly, I realized that I had lost my treasured knife, and I began to cry. The adults, including Grandma and Grandpa, began to scour the house from basement to attic, while I sat in the middle of the dining room floor and bellowed. Finally, there was nothing to do but go home without the knife. Grandma promised to save it if she found it. But I was sure it was lost forever.

Along about 8 in the evening, I began to regain my taste for candy and, being a prudent and foresighted little kid, I began to dig into the candy I had stuffed into my pockets – a delicious mixture of fudge, chocolates, divinity, and lint. About halfway through the mush, I discovered a strange object, and when I had licked it off, it turned out to be my pocketknife!
When my mother heard that the lost had been found, she said, “Grandma Heim is still looking for it, so you’d better call her up.” We had one of those old-fashioned wall phones with a crank, and she put me up on a chair and rang two “longs”. I had never talked on the telephone, and I was a little scared. Grandma had a rather crackly voice, and I can still hear her say, “You found your knife? Where did you find it?”
Not wishing to give away my method, I simply said, “In my pocket,” and hung up as quickly as possible. After all, we’d be back for Christmas dinner year after next!

Dr. Keith Heim wrote this little personal Christmas story for publication in the book “The Sweet Spring Still Flows”. You can find it for sale on the For Sale page of the Penn Colony Web site.