By Arthur Henry Gunther III
Once, so very long ago, almost in another age but I know it still must relate to the accumulation of living, just part of me, you see, gave someone a small birthday present.
It was the first gift for a new someone, and I thought it out, not wanting to go overboard and push the relationship into uncomfortable territory. Yet I wanted the present to be both meaningful — an expression of deepening interest — and also classy, since the person was surely that.
I ended up at a small corner jewelry store in Westwood, N.J., still there after five decades, staring into the show window on Center Avenue. That was easier for a shy fellow than going to the counter and looking at offerings from the sales person, almost all of which a 20 year old without a job could not afford.
Happily, I did see what I thought was the just-right gift in the show window, and five minutes later, with the equivalent of what some day would be a week’s salary from my first job gladly exchanged for what was a then-popular scarab bracelet, I went home and kept the present until the October birthday.
As these things go, the person I was then, not the fellow I am now, gave the bracelet to the person she was then, and it was appreciated. I don’t think I pushed the relationship to where it was uncomfortable, being jewelry and all, but I am not sure.
This was my first romantic gesture for anyone, and though I have never absorbed the etiquette on that, I just went ahead.
So much growth since then — me, her, people in our separate spheres, the world.
Yet as surely as fall comes each year, and it is a favored season, an older fellow now usually remembers the bright stones of the scarab bracelet, which signify creation and renewal, according to Egyptian thought.
Sounds right. A pleasant memory.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. firstname.lastname@example.org or thecolumnrule.com