One of my favorite holiday movies was running for 24 hours straight on TBS yesterday: A Christmas Story. The really cool part is the Christmas gift that my parents gave me yesterday. A .36 caliber flint-lock muzzle-loader rifle. One of the first things my mom said to me was: "You be careful with that." I had to laugh.
You see, the cool part is that about 17 years ago, I purchased all of the required parts to build this little beauty myself. The problem only became apparent to me after I attempted and subsiquently broke the "high figure curly maple stock with tiger-stripes" It was then that my stomach became upset, and my energy level for this task took a nose dive. I put all the parts back into the box and slid it back between the floor joists at my parents house just above the basement work bench. I had thought about the rifle a few times since, but recently it had faded from memory.
My father sought out the expertise and craftsmanship of a local muzzle-loader builder, and had him finish the job for me. In retrospect, I could not have done this rifle justice. It now is a real work of art, that I am told performs wonderfully.
Just like in the movie, my parents let everyone open all of the gifts, and then after the last one was opened, they said that there was still one gift left, and sent me around the corner to get it. I was really surprised. I had not expected to ever see this rifle finished, let alone get it for a gift this Christmas. It is a really special gift for me.