In the full realm of exchanges between two people, is there any transaction more treacherous to navigate than that of gift-giving? Take the giver's good intention and the recipient's secret desire; blend in diverse factors such as timing, finances, personal preferences and miscommunication; and you find yourself atop a powder keg with lit matches in both hands.
In O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, a penniless young couple learns priceless lessons when each makes great personal sacrifice in order to secure the other's heart's desire. He sells his heirloom watch to buy her the elegant combs she yearns for. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, she cuts and sells her chestnut locks in order to buy a handsome chain for his watch.
Closer to home, I am reminded of a wry gift exchange years ago between my grandparents. In midlife, as the relationship matured and romance must have seemed a game for young people, priorities shifted somewhat. And so, on my grandfather's birthday, my grandmother proudly presented him with a gift of lovely crystal drinking glasses. Some time later, on the occasion of her birthday, he surprised her with a gift of a fine new shotgun. (In their defense, it should be noted that at least each remembered the other's birthday!)
In this issue of Farm Collector, you'll read of two occasions when old iron turned out to be the perfect gift. (Certainly it was for the man whose wife surprised him with a UDLX: See Farm Collector, April 2007, pages 36-38.) As you eye a calendar with Mother's Day on one page and Father's Day on the next, antique farm equipment might just get you out of a bind. In this category, for instance, one size generally does fit all. So shop carefully. Stick within your budget. Keep your receipts. And remember, batteries (and lots of other parts) are not always included!
Leslie McManus, Editor