I gave Marx a big black umbrella, which was especially timely as his had recently broken. Sis got candleholders and a book. The Little Fayoumis got a car for the First Day of Christmas (and will collect 11 similar toy cars through the rest of the holiday) and a movie. Sis gave all of us rocks. Sis got a calendar. My parents gave everyone hot chocolate, in a variety of interesting flavours. Mama and FatherSir gave me a journal notebook and a little bright keychain LED squeezylight in red. (I suspect Mama picked out the journal and FatherSir picked out the light, because that's how they'd have done it...) The final gift was a home-burned CD, with an accompanying note from Mama, saying:
[FatherSir] made this, but didn't realize that the one tape was a copy of the other, so it repeats after a while. Maybe some grounds for blackmail here, but [swallowtayle] has a copy too. Pretty hysterical!The content, as I feared after reading the CD (bright pink), was exactly what I'd thought it would be.
When Tay-Tay and I were fairly young, our family got chickens. It was in the spring of the year that I was leaving the second grade, so I was seven or eight, and Tay-Tay was two years younger. Some of the chickens were special pets, and came in the house over the winter to be played with and petted and given treats and made much of.
FatherSir had a tape recorder. This was back in the late 1980s, and the machine was a huge sturdy dark grey beast of a machine, with a gold label with "Property of" and his name on it. It was well-nigh indestructable, and we had enough spare tapes lying around the house that Tay-Tay and I were allowed to use the tape recorder for things. One of the things we collected on some of the tapes were chicken sounds. Imagine a random and scattered combination of audio essay, documentary, and recordings of ambient noise featuring animal sounds, as produced by an eight-year-old and a six-year-old.
In later years, I couldn't bear to listen to the recording, as I sounded like an idiot on tape, especially when I was being as pretensious as only an intelligent young child with a high opinion of her own intelligence can be. FatherSir had transferred the tape to CD and burned it -- a copy for me, and a copy for Tay-Tay.
I popped the disc in the computer and shared it with the rest of the household, identifying the voices of the chickens as they got to talk on tape. Xiao Ji, the huge rooster, was in magnificent voice, and crowed and warbled. The Little Fayoumis decided that he liked the idea of crowing, and hunched down and crowed back, then joined in the badocket, several thousand miles and a decade away from the original fuss.
Someday, when I have the time, I may go through the whole 47 minute track and edit it up into conveniently-sized, nicely labeled segments of sound showcasing a gentle rooster chatting about anything and everything, a conversational Egyptian Fayoumis hen talking about her day and the meal, an excitable Egyptian Fayoumis hen having a serious problem, and some very, very lost chicks. Until then, it's a piece of my past come back to haunt me in clear CD audio...