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Getting things right and getting caught doing wrong

I finally got it right.

And it only took 20 years.

My wife has long talked about how she loved to receive lots of gifts - no matter how big or how small - under the Christmas tree. In the past, it was her mom who filled that wish each year, wrapping everything from boxes of Puffs Plus to bags of peanut butter cups. It wasn't about the gifts, it was all about the unwrapping.

So this year, I made it my mission. I wrapped individual packs of crackers, a box of Wheat Thins, two boxes of tissue, even a couple of Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees.

When we sat down to unwrap gifts Sunday - a week after the Smith family's festivities - it took four of us nearly an hour to get it all unwrapped. Even Granny got in on the action, recycling paper from a previous Christmas gift to wrap a box of Kleenex for my wife.

After our living room had been covered with scraps of paper and strands of ribbon, Miriam was thrilled. She was nearly giggling about how long it took for us to unwrap everything and the three trash bags we filled with paper.

And my mission was fulfilled.

I learned Monday that I'll never be able to get away with anything.

Miriam and I took some time on my day off to drive through the country and "liberate" some large rocks to help finish our backyard goldfish pond. Now, we weren't taking them from yards - the rocks we took were in ditches, in the woods and along the roads near the Rock House.

But that didn't stop us from getting caught. Twice.

First, it was McDuffie County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Hobbs, who was on regular patrol out along Starr Hinson Road. Now, Mike didn't stop us, but we did get a nice, long look before he turned the opposite way. (We later saw Deputy Hobbs stopped along the roadside and felt obligated to let him know what we were doing. He laughed and encouraged us to "not get caught.")

Just as we pulled off from Mike, a pickup truck pulled up and out came Smith Johnson - who owns property nearby and has been plagued recently by thefts and drivers who go through fences into fields. Think of him as the chief of "farmland security."

He had seen us stopped alongside one of his fields and wanted to make sure we weren't up to mischief. (Although, I'm still not sure he was convinced.)

Anyway, after an hour or so of plodding along the dirt roads around the Rock House, we had a pickup truck partially filled with mud-covered rocks. But, thankfully, there were no misdemeanors or felonies stuck in the glove compartment. No matter how may rocks we stole.

Web posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005


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