Starsky was putting the finishing touches to his Christmas gifts.
He really enjoyed the whole thing of shopping and choosing gifts and then wrapping them. He gave a lot of thought to his gifts and part of the joy was seeing his friends’ faces when they opened the packages.
He’d come to Christmas gifts kind of late in life. When he was little his grandparents only celebrated Hanukah; which was fine those years when the two holidays overlapped – but if the Jewish holiday came first the younger Starsky parents made sure that their children got some new toy so as not to be left out when their friends showed off their gifts. When he arrived in California he discovered that his aunt and uncle celebrated both holidays and joined in with just about everything Christmassy except singing carols and having a crib.
Starsky’s songs were “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer”, although he loved the songs like “Deck the Halls” and falalalala-ad along with the best of them. But most of all he loved to hear Judy Garland sing.
So here he was wrapping his gifts and humming as he did.
He checked the packages. There were two for each friend; a silly gift and a serious gift. Each had been beautifully wrapped in red and gold striped paper and bore a simple rosette at the corner.
For Dobey there was a fake hamburger and a new wallet.
For Huggy there was a conjurer’s set and a subscription to a new UFO magazine.
For little Rosie, Starsky had bought a big box with beads and stuff, everything a little girl could want to make her own jewelry – and a giant candy pacifier.
For Cal…Cal was at that difficult age where he was still a kid but wanted to be an adult. Starsky had bought him an intricate model kit and a comic book album full of heroes like The Green Lantern.
Edith Dobey was easy. Starsky looked on her as an honorary aunt…and she cooked better than Aunt Rosa. He bought her a set of mini wooden kitchen utensils and a bottle of the perfume she used. Starsky had done a little detective work and he had a great sense of smell.
As for Hutch….
Hutch was running around Penney’s trying to get gifts for everyone. As usual he’d left it to the last minute and he was trying to find something for everyone. The crowds and the hustle made him feel like renouncing and living up to his reputation as Bay City’s answer to Scrooge. He had already been to the toy department and bought a doll for Rosie and the latest board game for Cal. He stopped off in menswear and bought a tie for the Captain and socks for Huggy. Now he was trying to find something for Starsky. Last year he’d had a tree planted in Starsky’s name; and although Starsky had laughed it off Hutch felt bad at the look he’d seen in his friend’s eye when he read the note.
He hovered around the wallets…no, Starsky used his father’s wallet and would never be parted from it as long as it was in one piece. A wool scarf? So how often did it get that cold in LA? He wandered into the toiletries department and started to browse the men’s stuff. Starsky stuck to the same sandalwood aftershave and it didn’t come from a store like this.
That was it! He was never going to find a gift for Starsky in a store like this; but where?
He walked back to his car and glanced at his watch – buying the other gifts and waiting to have them gift wrapped had slowed him down more than he realized; he had exactly forty minutes to find Starsky a gift, go home and change and get over to the Dobey house for Christmas.
Hutch started to drive home slowly. “If the worse comes to the worse I could by him a gift voucher for a record store or…” He clicked his fingers and pulled up alongside a phone booth, praying that the book would still be there. It was and Hutch ran his finger down the listing until he found the familiar street name. He drove off and within twenty minutes he had made his purchase and talked the young woman behind the counter into making a gift package of it.
Edith Dobey opened the front door to welcome them in. Starsky winked at her and said “Does our deal still stand?” She kissed him lightly on the cheek – “Just like every year David.”
Hutch followed Starsky to the still undecorated tree and they both placed the packages they were carrying on the table. Dobey, Cal and Rosie came into the room; all three were dressed and ready for church. Edith slipped off her apron and handed it to Starsky who grinned and said nothing. Hutch adjusted his tie and the four of them set out for the midnight service – leaving Starsky at the house to fulfil his pre-arranged duties.
It was nearly one am when the car drew up in front of the house. Lights flickered behind the window. As they walked into the room Rosie squealed with joy to see the candles’ flames reflected in the red and gold balls that hung between them. Candy canes were half-hidden by the thick swathe of green and gold tinsel that encircled the tree from top to bottom. All around the bottom of the tree were packages of all shapes and sizes.
Starsky appeared from the kitchen wearing an oversized Santa cap and Edith’s apron. He was carrying a tray laden with glasses which he placed on the table next to the steaming bowl of aromatic mulled wine. Hutch sniffed the aromas of his childhood – cinnamon and cloves and orange. Starsky handed round the glasses (Edith fetched juice for Cal and Rosie) and they raised them to toast a happy Christmas.
Rosie handed around the packages. Everyone laughed at Starsky’s jokes and Hutch waited with bated breath for his partner to open the package marked ‘To Starsky from Hutch.’
Starsky opened the paper carefully. He opened the box and took out the envelope. Deep blue eyes shot a questioning look at Hutch, who grinned reassuringly. “This year I know I chose the right thing.”
Starsky opened the envelope and let out a whoop. “A gift voucher for my favourite model shop! Gee Hutch, that’s the best gift I’ve had in years.”
Edith raised her glass. “To all of us; may we be here next year to celebrate again.”
Rosie tugged at Hutch’s sleeve. “Sing us a song Uncle Ken.”
Hutch shook his head. “Oh no I sang last year – this time it’s his turn.” He punched Starsky playfully on the arm.
Starsky cleared his throat and raised his glass:
“Have yourselves a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away
Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were near to us will be dear to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together if the fates allow
Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”
Hutch looked up from the package that he was still untying. “Oh Starsky that’s perfect.”
He held up a beautiful mother of pearl and silver plectrum for his guitar.
Awww, loved it! I wouldn’t have thought of Starsky or Hutch’s gift for the other, guess that know each other best.
Nice one. Purrfect gifts 🙂
Really nice Christmassy story, Hilly!!!
Nice job with the story.
Perfect gifts and a perfect story! Thanks for the treat! 🙂
That´s a HOT Christmas story! 😉 Thanks
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