I took part in the Rabbit Room gift exchange this year. Below is a letter for the person whose name I drew.
Dear Rabbit Room Gift Exchange person,
I am so so sorry.
Spoiler alert: I bought a Baseball Hall of Fame cap for you. Since I live in Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, I included some something from there with my RR gift. I know, there’s nothing rabbit-y about the Hall of Fame, but it’s a little piece of me. Cooperstown is where I live and the Hall of Fame was my first job. There’s some more rabbit-y stuff in the box, too.
The baseball cap sat on the piano in the living room blithely waiting to be wrapped and mailed.
The other morning I went to check on my father. He has some dementia. From the dining room I could see he wasn’t in his chair. When I went in, I found him by the piano wearing your cap. It was awkwardly perched on his head because he hadn’t noticed the cardboard inserts inside the cap. He had, however, ripped off the tags and held them crumpled in his hand.
“DAD!” I fairly shrieked. You would have thought he was about to burn down the house.
He looked up at me, startled.
“No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-NO!” I said. “That’s NOT YOURS!”
Clearly he didn’t understand what was happening as I pulled the cap — your cap — off his head. I stomped off to the coat room, found a Red Sox cap, and brought it back to him.
“Here,” I said, not very nicely, “You can wear this one all day and all night. This one is yours.”
“Why would I want to wear a baseball cap all night?” he asked innocently.
I changed the subject. “This one,” I said, waving the Hall of Fame cap under his nose, “is a gift for someone.”
He looked at me blandly.
“It’s not yours,” I said again.
“I didn’t know it was something important,” he said.
“Yes, it’s important,” I said, even though I knew in my heart that it wasn’t.
For the next hour, he brought me things and asked the same question every time.
The first was a bobby pin — “Is this important?”
Then 17¢ in loose change — “Is this important?”
A scrap of paper with a grocery list written on it — “Is this important?”
A garden stone with the word “SUN” carved into it.
A spool of thread.
“Is this important?”
After about the third thing, it hit me how unimportant things are.
“You’re important, Dad,” I finally told him — and was glad for the lesson that I learned.
So I’m sorry about the crumpled tags that I stuck in the cap before I wrapped it for you. They served as a reminder to me of how easily I lost sight of what is important.
Enjoy the cap. May it (and this little story) remind you not to lose sight of what’s most important.