It was Christmas morning, and all the extended family that was able gathered together for our holiday feast and annual Christmas gift exchange. This year things changed up a little bit, and the requirements of the gift exchange changed to a Theme of "something Brown" and under $10.00. The rules are simple. We draw numbers that designate our turn to choose a gift or steal from someone who has opened ahead of you.
As soon as my cousin across the room opened the package containing a brown picture frame of a photo of what I perceived as an old photo, possibly even Frank Sinatra, I knew I wanted it. I was number 14 out of 18, which is proper placement and a good chance to steal without having the gift taken from me in the end. After my cousin was able to find his glasses to take a closer look at the photo, I found out that it was a photo of my grandfather probably taken in the 1950s. Of course, that made me want it more.
As the family members stepped up to claim their gift, no one seemed to recall the photo remaining with my cousin. My turn arrived, and I stood up, proclaiming that I wasn't afraid to be the "asshole" who steals the gift. I snagged the photo, and as I got a closer look at it, I couldn't help but notice my grandfather's smile. It was similar to my big cheesy grin that everyone seems to love.
Number 15 went after me (safe), followed by 16 (safe) only two more gifts left. I was going to make it and keep this lovely photograph. I was mentally designating a spot for it on my wall when number 17 (my other cousin) STOLE MY PHOTO!!!! "Darn it!" I thought! So close. How could this cousin even want it, I thought? After all, I was the oldest of all the grandchildren I technically knew my grandfather; the longest...this cousin was way way way down the line. But never-the-less rules are rules, and I had to relinquish my beloved photograph and pick one of the two gifts from the pile. One is a gift my mother had put in, so I knew what it was. I didn't need a small teacup and vase to add to my over-cluttered apartment, so I opted for the other gift remaining. It wasn't an intriguing old photograph, but for a white elephant/cheap gift exchange coming out with a box of Godiva chocolates was still a bit of a win.
It is incredible how something as simple as a smile can travel across generations. I tend to get self-conscious about my smile I don't have perfectly straight white gleaming teeth. Yet a smile does go along way, and when I get behind the camera, I do not look natural without my gleaming smile. Throughout the years that is one thing that has endured is my bright and happy smile. One you will see greet you whenever I am selling my jewelry at a local craft market.