about the gifts.
On this July 3rd birthday, I’m thinking about the gifts, yeah, the gifts.
On school mornings, when I was my dad’s 6-year-old shadow, he would take me to breakfast at McGill’s diner, a tiny place by the railroad tracks. In that early morning hour, McGill, my dad, and I had a world no knew. The counter had four stools with red leather and silver that stood on each side of an opening ithat Mr. McGill walked through. A jukebox sat by the front window, it played old songs.
My dad and I always sat in last the booth, the fourth one by the big opening in the wall. One step down took me into an old-fashioned Toy Store to wander alone.
My dad and McGill would talk over breakfast. I’d take the quarter he gave me and play songs on that juke box “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” “King of the Road,” and one more — maybe something by Nat King Cole. While the music played, I’d go into the toy store and contemplate one toy at a time. They seemed to belong together for me to visit every day before my dad took me to school.
Ah the gifts . . . the gifts I’m thinking about came from the feeling in Mr. McGill’s diner not his toy shop.
From my parents, I got my life and my learning. I can tell a story. I hardly worried about roadblocks put up to thwart me. He so loved people. She so understood and cared for them. They showed me where strength came from and they let me discover beauty.
From my brothers, I got protection and a sense of who I might be. One taught me how to communicate. The other taught me to play.
From my cousins, I got a sense of a big family. I got perspective and a wealth of popcorn-filled, backyard tales.
From the boy across the street, . . . going exploring in Kindergarent and our first kiss at 13.
A lifelong frienship started at 16.
Too many gifts to mention. I’m a lucky girl.
One cool, incredible gift is you — every morning, afternoon, and evening in my computer. It’s your thoughts. It’s the way you make me rethink my own. It’s the discoveries. It’s the laughter. It’s the way you make me better.
On this birthday, it’s about the gifts. Thank you.
Thanks for coming with on a visit to McGill’s Diner by the railroad tracks. I still remember all of the words to “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” and “King of the Road.”
I’ll always remember you.