I recently paid my folks a visit on the front range and returned with four "insignificant" gifts my dad sent home with me. I reflect, as Father's Day approaches.

Through the years, very few of my family visits have not resulted in me going home with more stuff than I came with. It's never a matter of whether or not I want it or need it. In some cases I do, and in some cases I don't -- but I always take it home.

It could be that dad was cleaning out the shed, garage, or closet and thought I could use some old tools, musical instruments, records, clothes, or other odds and ends. I never know what to expect - kind of like opening a box of Cracker Jacks.

Well, this time I was not disappointed. As usual, I was coming home with more than I arrived with. But I was surprised by the four things my dad sent home with me.


Zane Mathews

We always have plenty of snacks when I visit - and, dad will ask me if I like such-and-such a thing - as was the case here. Of course, I said "yes" - because I do - and then he absolutely insisted that I take the remaining snacks home with me. I felt kind of bad walking off with these yummy treats from the pantry -- but he gave me no choice. If it is more blessed to give than to receive, my dad is a very blessed man.


Zane Mathews

Intending to get mild sauce, dad accidentally picked up this bottle of hot sauce at the grocery store. Sure, it says "hot" right on the label and on the lid, but at age 83, dad's eyes aren't what they used to be. Nobody in my immediate family likes it hot so I'm not sure where I got my taste for "hot and spicy,"  but I definitely got the hot gene.There is no way dad was going to let this sauce go to waste -and so home with me it went.


Zane Mathews

Now, you have to understand that my folks don't have internet -- although they do have a smart phone, which is only used for receiving phone calls and text messages. The local paper did a spread for President's Day featuring a listing of all of the U.S. Presidents. Dad thought it was pretty cool and thought I might like to have it so he saved it for me. Of course, I graciously accepted it and brought it home with me.

$20 BILL


My folks are on a very limited fixed income with tremendous medical expenses. Yet, when I visit, they insist on taking me to lunch - and when I leave, dad will slip a $20 bill in my hand to "help with gas". My two-day visit means the world to them - probably even more than I can imagine. Perhaps, there is a hope that a little cash assist will produce another much-desired visit in the future.

These gifts aren't significant in themselves, but what they represent certainly is. Materially speaking, these items aren't worth a whole lot - but to me, their value is great because these were gifts from his heart. In each case, Dad was thinking specifically about ME and wanting to do something that might bring me a little joy.

At some point, I realized how fortunate I was that dad could send me home with stuff, regardless of what it was. If there is one thing I get from my dad, I would hope it would his kind and giving heart.The day is coming when he'll be gone, and I will wish more than anything that I could be going home with something "insignificant" that dad gave me.