When I was ten, I got the idea to get my grandma a Christmas present by cleaning the house of an elderly woman who lived down the street. Grandma had raised me since the day I was born and we'd never exchanged gifts before. I was so excited. Not only was I going to buy my grandma a present, I was going to earn the money myself!
So I went to 'Ms. Anna's' house and spent a little over an hour cleaning it. When I was finished, she gave me ten dollars! At the time--it was like she'd given me fifty!
There was only one store in town. They didn't have very much but I thought my grandma would be happy with anything because it was coming from me. I found a purple scarf and box of candy. I took the items, went to the cashier and paid for them. The woman behind the counter asked me about my purchases and I proudly declared, "These are for my grandma! I earned the money myself!" She was so impressed with me that she reached under the counter and put both items in a pretty red box.
All the way home I was imagining how great Christmas was going to be and how happy I would make Grandma. For once, she would know how much I appreciated her raising me all by herself.
I walked in the house and tried to hide the gift behind the couch but she saw me.
"What is that?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing." I probably looked like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary--I was so clever!
"You tell me right NOW what is in that box!"
Okay, the surprise was ruined but...
"I got you a Christmas present." I said.
"How the Hell did you do that? You don't have any money. What is it? A damn box of candy?"
So, she guessed it. Big deal. She didn't know about the scarf, at least. But for some reason, she was very, very angry at me. Why was she so mad?
"Where'd you get the money for that?"
"Ms. Anna let me clean her house and she gave me some money..." but I never got to finish my explanation. My grandma marched me down to that store, made the checkout lady take the gifts back, give the money back for the gifts and then made me take the money back to Ms. Anna. I also had to apologize to Ms. Anna for "bothering her." I was a humiliated, broken-hearted little kid at Christmas.
That little girl shows up about this time every year.