Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 14, 2012

Lindsay's column: 12.14.12 >> Green beans aren’t just for the dinner table

By Lindsay Eckert
[friday] editor/ Give the gift of musical fruit

— A precautionary warning for procrastinators: There are 10 days left on the Christmas-shopping calendar. So, unless you’re relying on Santa to tumble down the chimney with all of your wrapped gifts, you better a get a move on!

Although for the forgetful-at-heart and for the thrive-under-pressure, 10 days probably seems like an eternity, especially if you’re fortunate enough to shop from the convenience of your home like my dad. I’m not talking about shopping the last-minute deals on Amazon. I’m talking about a shopping destination even closer to home: the pantry.

My dad isn’t the type to make a checklist and he’d rather have a stocking full of coal than experience the inside of a mall, except Blondie’s cookies (which, incidentally, can also be found in the pantry so who needs a mall?) Pair that with an unfailing forgetfulness and you have one heck of a holiday gift giver.

Although he has many thoughtful and kind characteristics, his memory bank seems to be in overdrawn mode during the holidays and ‘tis the season for his lackluster memory to sparkle and shine.

Christmas- Circa 2007 really put his forgetfulness center stage, glowing under the Christmas-season spotlight.

As Christmas Eve morning’s sun rose from its slumber, my family rushed to their stuffed stockings lying under the mantel with our handwritten names glistening to identify the festive socks overflowing with goodies and gifts. But, one stocking stood out like the wilting Charlie Brown Christmas tree in a field full of bountiful evergreens.

The one marked, “Cathy” provoked a pause in the unveiling and redirected eyes: As my mom started extracting her “holiday tokens” from her stocking, her facial expression transformed from excitement to confusion.

First, she pulled out an opened box of Dots - upon further examination the crumpled package’s contents only included a few green and yellow dots left over and unwanted ... for, most likely, months. The further she reached the more familiar the items were to her: A pair of her own socks, a card from my Dad - from five years ago - and her comb. Finally, there was one object left. A circular one. Perhaps a festively-wrapped surprise? Nope, a can of green beans.

Everyone erupted with laughter at the sight of her “gifts” laid out amongst the stockings stuffed with new socks, unopened boxes of candy and a card purchased in 2007 with a freshly-penned message.

It was a sight we saw for years, opened boxes of Oreos, a jar of expired peanut butter, but each year he got a little better; interjecting a gift card for food not found in my parents’ pantry or a card purchased in the same decade. Last year, he overcame his faulty memory and the stocking marked, “Cathy” finally fit in with the field of evergreens. But, as she reached into the toe of her stocking Dad generously filled with sealed packages, there was one gift that represented a remnant of the memory we all love and not even Dad could forget: A lone can of green beans.

So if you run out of shopping time, take to your closet, pantry or even your basement, it might not go over so well the first year but it gets funny, believe me.

I hope you have a ‘bean’ingful holiday!