Tales From The Front

Thanksgiving is over. You know what that means: The holidays are right around the corner. You know what that means: Gifts. Will yours measure up to these?

— KENNY: ‘I had recently joined the Chicago Police Department and for my birthday, my girlfriend of three months gave me a small chain with a pendant of St. Michael, patron saint of police officers. A touching gift from a classy woman.’

— JODY: ‘My boyfriend went on yearly dive trips to different islands. He would always bring me back a T-shirt. The last trip he took was to a secluded spot in Honduras. All it had was a dirt strip for the airplane to land. No shops. T-shirts were not to be found. But Vince didn’t want to come back empty-handed. Knowing I am a bread lover, he had one of the island women bake me two loaves. He was eager to see me as soon as he arrived so he could give them to me while they were still fresh.’

— LINDA: ‘Charlie and I decided to get married. We were looking at houses and planning the wedding, but I didn’t have an engagement ring. My birthday was coming up and it seemed to me that that would be the logical time to get a diamond ring. Charlie planned a romantic dinner at our favorite restaurant. After dinner, he gave me a beautifully wrapped, but quite large box. I opened it slowly, wondering what it could be. When I folded back the tissue I could see it was an item of clothing.

My heart sank and I couldn’t even take it out of the box. With a lump in my throat I asked, ‘What is this?’ He said it was a wedding dress. He said he knew I would want to choose my own ring, but that he wanted to surprise me with something very special. And indeed he did. The dress was a beautiful off-white tea length and I loved it. He had gone to countless stores until he found it. It tried it on and it was perfect. We have now been married 10 years and have two children.’

— JEAN: ‘One Sunday afternoon, my husband and I invited several couples to a backyard barbecue. One of the couples came in the most beautiful car I’d ever seen, a Lincoln Continental. I called my husband’s attention to it and said, ‘Wow!’ That was in the mid-1960s. From then on, whenever I celebrated a birthday, anniversary or Christmas, after the packages were opened, I would say, ‘Well, I got everything I hoped for except a white Lincoln Continental.’ Everyone chuckled. This went on for years. By the way, we always had nice cars and I was perfectly happy with mine.

‘In 1995 my husband was very ill. One evening, out of the blue, he said, ‘Jean, there is something I want to ask you.’ My first thought was, ‘He knows his illness is terminal and he wants to talk about death, the future, etc.’ All this went through my mind, so I was relieved when he said, ‘If you really want the Lincoln Continental, we’ll get it. I’m checking the costs.’

When I realized he was serious, the tears came. I recovered enough to say, ‘Ken, I’m not the Lincoln Continental type. I’m the station wagon type and I love my wagon. Besides, I’d be embarrassed to drive a big pretentious car.’

‘A few days before Christmas, 1995, my husband of 53 years died. This year I needed a new car. The pressure was on from my daughter and son-in-law to finally get it. So, I did! If you see a lady, going with the flow, down the I-90 or the Tri-State North in a beautiful (but not pretentious) Lincoln Continual LS2000, wave. It might be me!’