JAMIE’S BLOG – YEAR 8 – DAY 359 :: joy is unexpected gifts

25 Dec


Another Christmas is in the books! And this year came with a surprise, unexpected gift under the tree. It was a box, a regular square shaped box wrapped in bright paper. But what was inside was truly unexpected.

You see Justin and I agreed we wouldn’t exchange gifts this year because our greatest and most expensive gift to each other this year was moving across the country. Instead, we put our resources into gifts for our family far and wide and on the other side of the country for Christmas presents.

But Justin didn’t listen. Typical. He gave me a gift anyway.

Truth be told, I gave him one too but to justify it I made sure the gift (Red Sox Tickets) could be used by both of us.

When the box landed in my lap, the last gift of the Christmas 2018 to be opened under our tree, I had no idea what it could be. It wasn’t heavy but it wasn’t light. It was a square box but when I opened it there was a bunch of tissue paper. 

As I pulled at the tissue paper, one by one, I discovered an old metal speaker from an outdoor drive in. It’s not just any speaker, it’s one from the drive in we used to frequent in high school for date nights and a few makeout sessions. 

One night at the Motor-Vu Drive-In Justin and I fell asleep during the late showing of some movie I don’t remember the name of. When I awoke it was 2:00 AM and the parking lot was empty. I shook Justin awake in the driver’s seat. It was just the two of us teenagers sitting in his Chevy Blazer with sleepy eyes. We awoke to more than the fact that it was past our curfew. I was pretty sure my parents were going to ground me (or worse) when I got home.

Justin scurried to start up the Blazer’s engine and hit the gas so we could make our breakaway. Just as we peeled away I realized the speaker was still on my passenger side window. The tires spun, the speaker wire snapped and the big, old, heavy metal speaker fell in my lap. 

I looked at Justin in horror and screamed, “What do I do with this?” holding the clunky metal speaker in my hand. 

He panicked and said, “Throw it out the window!” So I did. And we sped away. 

Justin dropped me off at my house and then hightailed it to his. As I crept up the steps and opened the door I knew I was going to be in trouble. Not just any kind of trouble but out-too-late-with-a-boy kind of trouble. 

As I tiptoed down the hallway, I heard my mother’s voice call from her bedroom. I knew I was in for it and I squirmed in my skin as I answered her call. But when I made it back to her bedside, after she scolded me in a hushed whisper for being out too late, she asked the most important question a mother could ever ask: “Did you have fun?” 

I have told this story so many times, so many ways to so many people. It was the unexpected night for two little souls in love. It was an unexpected response from my Mama Sling. And today, on a day that we were not supposed to exchange gifts, Justin gave me the most unexpected gift I could ever imagine. 

A speaker from the Motor-Vu Drive-In from Twin Falls, Idaho. A drive-in that is currently being torn down to make way for a new storage facility. A storage facility that is owned by the same one that Justin stored all his belongings in for the last nine years while we galavanted around the country on numerous adventures. That storage unit was just emptied out this fall as we moved its contents all the way across the country. 

Lost are the days of drive-in movies. And long are the nights where we would worry about our curfew. But this little metal speaker holds a memory and a moment in my life that was unexpected and absolutely priceless…and full of joy.

So much joy for a boy that I have always loved, and a man that still knows how to hold my heart and surprise me in ways I never see coming. 

So tonight, my joy is unexpected gifts and the memories that come with them.

More tomorrow… 


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