His wallet was tattered, held together by carefully placed tape and a couple of rubber bands. Being a child of the “Great Depression” my grandfather never believed in wasting anything that had the least bit of use in it – including the remnants of his brown leather wallet.

My grandmother, Nana as she is known to all of us, rarely got the chance to surprise my grandfather. He was just too quick mentally and perceptive about his surroundings, but this year she knew she had gotten one by him. She had bought him a new wallet and carefully wrapped it and placed it at the back of the Christmas tree. Wanting to make sure her gift would be the only wallet, she had secretly told the rest of the family about her plan. Every adult knew – except my grandfather.

Christmas eve we all gathered and opened presents. My grandfather opened Nana’s last. As he carefully released the tape, unfolded the paper and lifted the gift from the box, we all saw his old, torn wallet. “Who in the world gave me an old rotten wallet,” he exclaimed. As everyone watched on shock, he continued, “Why, I’ve a perfectly good wallet right here.” As he lifted Nana’s gift from his pants pocket – it was clear to all of us that he had switched the wallets and rewrapped the box sometime earlier in the weeks preceding Christmas.

To this day we all still chuckle about it and Nana – well she still pretends to be mad.