At seven-years old, my younger brother Adam showed a propensity for having a one-track mind. In this case it was his want of ‘Lincoln Logs,’ for Christmas.
Each store we entered, he’d inquire of Dad or Mom if they had the logs. One late morning as we were moving up and down the aisle of the Sears store, Adam spotted them.
“We can’t afford them,” Dad said, causing Adam to ebb into a complete and embarrassing meltdown. And after having heard enough of Adam’s wailing, Dad put a stop to it, by adding, “And if you keep that up, Santa won’t bring them to you either!”
Adam immediately stopped bawling and fell into the sniffles and a gulping of air as he fought off the tears. I felt bad for him and vowed to myself to do something to help both my folks and my brother.
The following day, I went outside and searched the yard under the trees and bushes and it didn’t take very long for me to find what I was looking for, and after a while I concluded 50 pieces was a good start. The rest of the day I spray painted my new-found ‘logs’ a deep, rich brown, followed by a health dip in lacquer to keep the paint in place.
(Yes, America was a different place back then.)
By the next day, my project was dry and ready for packaging. After finding a box to load the ‘logs’ into, I spent a good part of two-hours trying to wrap it up and make certain Adam knew what they were and that they came from me.
With pride, I slipped the box under the tree. Then came the hard part – waiting for Christmas morning, which was still a million-hours away.
Come Christmas morning, we rushed out to the tree to see what not only Santa had brought us, but what other gifts we’d gotten from our parents and relatives. As I ripped open package after package, I kept an eye on that special gift I’d made for Adam.
Finally, he tore into the decorative paper and opened the box. I could see by his face he wasn’t too thrilled with what had given to him.
Mom took the box and peaked into it, then with a half-puzzled, half-joyfilled look on her face, she called Dad over to have a look in the box. They then began laughing which immediately hurt my feelings.
“Tommy,” Mom said, “You’re so sweet, but…”
“Yeah – very sweet,” Dad interrupted, “but dog poop doesn’t make very good ‘Lincoln Logs.’
The next package handed to Adam made it obvious that he was going to get the real thing after-all. I don’t remember him actually opening up the tubular-shaped container, because by then I had raced to my bedroom to cry.
It took my folks the rest of the morning to calm me, letting me know that I had actually done a ‘good thing,’ by convincing me that it was ‘the thought that counted and not the gift.’