I didn't think electronic devices could hold sentimental value, but it seems I was wrong.
My iPod went missing a couple months back, but I found it this week. While it was MIA, I was using my back-up iPod. I bought it about a year ago but don't like it as much as my old one. I never really used it until all this happened. That makes little sense as it has greater capacity and is newer, better and prettier than my old one. But it doesn't have one crucial thing — the letters CSB engraved on the back.
Those three little letters hold a great deal of embarrassment for my sister and brother-in-law, and as I have learned, a great deal of sentimental value for me.
Let me explain.
It was Christmas morning 2006. I was spending the holiday with my sister's family. We had agreed to a $10 gift limit. It was time for me to open my gift from "all of us," which included my sister, Terri, her husband, Tim, my 18-month-old niece, Aowyn, and their dog, Chewie.
I unwrapped a small box to find a silver iPod Nano. I looked at the clear-covered box in disbelief. It had to be a full minute before I looked up at my sister and brother-in-law. When I did, I found them with anxious faces.
"Oh my goodness," I said with all the exaggeration I could muster. "This is an iPod."
I saw relief flash across their faces. The anxiousness melted away and huge grins took its place.
"Oh good!" my sister practically yelled.
"So, it is an 'iPod' then, right?" Tim countered. "It's the real thing?"
I was confused by this line of questioning since it was clearly an iPod. Wouldn't the store clerk have made that clear to them, I wondered.
"Uh, yeah, it is," I said, following it up quickly with another "Oh my goodness." But this time it was emphatic and loud. "I cannot believe you bought me an iPod! I have been wanting an iPod so stinkin' bad!"
"We know!" Terri said.
"But what about the gift limits we discussed? This is way over the limit. Like $200 over the limit," I said, suddenly realizing my gifts would seem pathetic in comparison.
"Yeah, we know," she said. "But we knew how much you wanted one and you've been such a help since Aowyn was born, we wanted to get you something special."
I popped the lid off to get a closer look at the awesomeness I held in my hand. My brother-in-law questioned with annoyance how I got the lid off.
"Seriously?" he said, dismayed at how easily I opened the package. "I messed with that thing forever and couldn't get it open. Thought I was going to break it so I stopped. We haven't even got to see the thing yet!"
I started examining every inch while they watched from across the room with those grins still plastered on their faces.
I turned it over to see the back and found an engraving.
"Community State Bank?" I asked. "Why does my iPod say 'Community State Bank?'"
The grins faded into looks of pure horror.
Practically ripping the thing out of my hand, they wanted to see for themselves.
"Those cheapskates!" my sister yelled.
"I can't believe they put their name on it!" Tim chimed in.
Still confused, I repeated my question, but no one was listening.
"If I could have gotten the stupid box open, we would have known," Tim said to Terri.
I slowly started to piece the story together.
"Wait a minute! You didn't buy me an iPod, did you? You got a promotional iPod from a bank! For free!"
Because they were sputtering at the same time, I still don't know what all was said in response.
I did catch one thing clearly from my sister: "I had to jump through a thousand hoops for that thing! I paid for it with my time!"
"And you're calling the bank 'cheapskates'?" I teased. "Where's my other present? You clearly didn't hit the gift total?"
Best Christmas ever.
Misty Knisely, managing editor, can be reached at 574-732-5155 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.