For the past year my friend George and I play ping pong most every Thursday. One week we play at our place, the next week at his. I have the classic pint size den room with at most two to three feet behind our table. You quickly develop a good backhand in such tight quarters. George’s table is in his basement with easily five feet plus behind the end of the table. It’s a different game, but ping pong is the vehicle for our friendship.
Hannah and I’ve known George for 28 years since he and Stanley built our garage and the B and B rooms above it. For years George and his son Owen would come to have Hannah cut their hair. While one was getting a haircut, I’d play ping pong with the other. Once the haircuts were done, we four would play three games of doubles, rotating partners after each game. Owen went off to college; George could get haircuts where Hannah worked at the nursing home. We played less often. And then with retirement upon me, it turned out George was as eager to play ping pong as I was.
Don’t worry, I’m getting to today’s gift. Often Hannah shares her soup and cookies with George and his wife Neila. Neila sends us various kinds of homemade pickles and George brings tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, potatoes, and eggplants from his garden. And all I do is watch. I’m not the cook in our family. Cold cereal serves me well day after day, if I am on my own. But the 29 gifts got me thinking what I can offer. And that would be bread. In my bread machine I make one kind of bread: homemade oatmeal bread. So this morning I measure all the ingredients, press the right buttons, and two hours later a fine loaf of homemade oatmeal bread appears. My gift can complement their evening meal.