A Christmas Glove
Joseph Walker - December 27, 2002
Mom didn't want much that first Christmas after she and Dad were married. Which was just as well. It was the end of America's Great Depression, and there wasn't much to be had."All I want," she told Dad, "is some nice black gloves."
"But you have black gloves," he protested. "Nice ones. I gave them to you last year."
"I sort of lost one," she said. "The left one. So I've just been wearing the right one."
"Those were expensive gloves," Dad sighed. "And I know how much you liked them."
"I did," Mom said. "So if you could get me some new ones, I don't need anything else."
"I don't know," Dad said with a slight smile. "If you're just going to lose them . . . "
Mom was pretty sure Dad was teasing. Still, she didn't know what to expect when at last the time came to exchange Christmas presents. She would have been pleased with anything, but she really did need the gloves, especially for her left hand. She carefully removed the ribbons and paper and opened the box. There they were! Beautiful new black gloves!
"Oh, Bud, they're perfect! Just exactly what I . . . " She paused. "There's only one glove."
"Yes, that's right," Dad said, smiling proudly.
"But gloves usually come in pairs, don't they?"
"That's true. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find one glove. But there it is!"
"So where did you get it?" Mom wanted to know.
"I got it at Stanley's," he said forthrightly, almost proudly and certainly stupidly.
"Stanley's!" Mom recoiled as she pulled the glove off her hand. "You bought my Christmas present at Stanley's?" Immediately, Dad could see that he was in trouble.
"Well, I looked at some other places," he said, apologetically. "But that's the only place I could find the right glove. Er, left glove. Er . . . "
"That's my present? A glove from a second-hand store? What did it cost? A dime?"
"Twenty-five cents!" he blurted.
The fire shooting from Mom's eyes told Dad that revelation hadn't helped his situation.
The drive to Mom's parents' house for Christmas dinner passed without a word being spoken between them. When they arrived, Dad went with Mom's father and her little brother, Jack, to do some target shooting. Mom went straight to the kitchen to get some sympathy.
"Mother," she said, "you won't believe what Bud did for Christmas."
Her mother smiled and nodded. "Wasn't that something?" she asked.
"You mean . . . you knew?" Mom asked.
"Darling, we've been immersed in it! He was here for hours, looking for your lost glove. Then he started going to every store in town looking for an exact copy. Whenever he found one that was close, he'd buy it and bring it to me to approve. He must've bought 20 left-hand gloves!"
"But that's . . . so . . . "
"Silly? Yes, I thought so, too," Mom's mother said, shaking her head. "And I told him so. But he said, 'Wanda loves these gloves. I'm sure I can find another left glove somewhere.'" A lump began growing in Mom's throat.
"Now there's just one problem," Mom's mother said, picking up a stuffed pillow case. "What do we do with these?" Laughing, she emptied a pillow case full of black left-hand gloves.
The next hour passed slowly, as Mom awaited Dad's return. When at last he walked up the sidewalk she was standing at the door, her arms outstretched, a black glove on each hand.
Which, it turns out, was exactly what she wanted all along.
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