What is the Best Gift You Ever Received?
Roving ReporterCommunity

What is the Best Gift You Ever Received?

Five Atlantans talk about unusual and meaningful presents from people who successfully surprised them.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Even though we are taught that it’s far more rewarding to give than to receive, there is definitely something wonderful about being on the receiving end of the perfect gift from the right person at the ideal time. Many of us may dream of receiving a Rolls-Royce, a seat on a commercial space shuttle, a private island named in our honor, an original Matisse or Rembrandt, or a trip on the Orient Express. These are definitely excellent gift choices. However, responses given to the Roving Reporter prove that every gift from the heart, chosen purely to bestow happiness (even if slightly missing the mark) is the perfect gift. And, yes, after bestowing the “best gifts” on their unsuspecting recipients, we’re sure that the gift-givers felt just as delighted.

Jana Lynn

My best gift ever was on my 46th birthday, Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. My boyfriend and my children surprised me with 18 baby chicks that arrived via the U.S. mail in a tiny box with a screen on one side so they could breathe. The postal worker was so relieved when they were claimed because they had been chirping in the box for hours. We ate and gave away almost a dozen eggs every day, but several hawk and coyote attacks wiped out the flock, except for Ethel, one lone bird. She prefers to sleep in a large dog crate at night, which we lock up for her safety. We recently adopted a friend’s only chick. She and Ethel are companions, but Ethel is clearly the Alpha Chick! When the U.S. mail is running more smoothly, I will order more chicks. I miss my fresh eggs!
Jana Lynn, office manager

Neal Davis

The best present I ever received was more about the delivery of the gift than the gift itself. For Chanukah one year my wife Sara purchased a coffee lovers kit for me. While I believe the gift was more of a present for herself, the packaging was definitely all for me. The gift came enclosed in a sealed wooden crate, where I had to use a crowbar to pry it open.
Neal Davis, consulting manager

Keri Drescher

The best gift I ever received was from my brother, Adam. Five years ago, he gave me a hammock for my birthday, and I decided to put it together myself. When I finished the assembly, I hopped in and sunk immediately to the ground. I soon found out that people tend to underestimate the height and tension at which a hammock must be hung. Now I have it just right. It’s on my deck. Another favorite gift was an old mountain bike from someone I was dating. His gift led me to buy a REAL bike for myself in May, 2019. The bike shop promised that I would go twice as far in half the time with this bike. And they were right!
Keri Drescher, community bank vice president

Paul Miller

My Polish immigrant parents moved to Georgia during the Great Depression in order to try to make a living by running a grocery store. Our family never had much money, but my parents worked hard and they were frugal. I studied diligently and became a pharmacist. Even though my parents had limited resources, they loaned me the money to help me open my first pharmacy on West Peachtree Street. I hadn’t asked them, but they were proud, knew how hard I studied and wanted to help me get started professionally. That was the greatest gift I ever received.
Paul Miller, retired pharmacist

Sandra Banks

My family loves to give “memories” instead of gifts. Many of our presents have been family trips to exotic places, including Alaska, Chile, Tanzania and Hawaii. Last year, my dad asked what was on the top of my bucket list. Without hesitation, I said, “the silverback mountain gorilla in their natural habitat.” Before I knew it, I had a trip planned for a primate tour of Rwanda, and because my parents did not want me to travel alone, they arranged for my sister to travel with me. COVID-19 has delayed our trip. But in June of 2021, I hope to embark on the trip of a lifetime to photograph the Colobus, L’hoest, Blue, Owl Faced, Golden, Dent’s Mona and Vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, and the gorillas, along with big cats, giraffe, hippos and more. The trip will be amazing, but even better will be the memories my sister and I create and share.
Sandra Banks, physician

read more: