Many years ago, when Ron and I were still much too young to blame our memory failures on our advancing age, we had the year of the Christmas pillows. The only excuse I can give for the pillow fiasco that happened that year is that we were having the kind of addled brain blips of working parents in a busy, chaotic, noisy household full of children. I enjoyed those busy days and am not complaining about them. But the fast pace and complexity of our lives could, and did, lead to incidents like the pillows.
The whole thing started when I bought two nice-quality down pillows at Costco for an excellent price. I put one in Ron’s closet and told him to give it to me for Christmas and I hid the other one to give to him for Christmas. The pillows we were using on our bed had seen better days and we were both in need of replacements, so the pillows were a good practical gift.
When Christmas rolled around, a few months later, I could not for the life of me remember where I had hid Ron’s pillow. I could not find it. I figured it would turn up eventually and that when I had more time to look for it I might find it. When we opened gifts, I would just explain to him that there was a pillow in the house for him somewhere. On Christmas morning, I was handed a huge fluffy package and opened it to find my pillow, given to me by Ron. But there was something odd about it. It was not the pillow that I had bought at Costco. It was a different one. He had forgotten about the pillow I had told him that I put in his closet. So I promptly went and got that pillow out of his closet, and gave it to him. Problem solved. We both had lovely new pillows. Months later, I stumbled upon the pillow that I had intended to give to Ron, fallen down behind a mountain of stuff in the back of my closet.
Do you remember this Marx Brothers routine? Groucho says to Chico, “I bought you a gift.” And Chico says to Groucho, “And I bought you a gift too.” And Groucho produces a huge salami and hands it to his brother and says, “It’s a salami.” And Chico says, “Funny thing, I got you a salami too,” and he hands an identical salami to his brother. Ron and I stopped buying each other cards a couple of years ago when we bought one another the exact same Valentine’s Day Card. Now, when we buy each other the same gift, we always say, “I got you a salami.” Maybe we should say that we got a pillow.