What was the best birthday gift you ever received?

Reading this thread got me thinking about the best birthday gift I ever received. It was from my wife, many years ago.

It started out that my wife called me at work during the day, and told me that we were meeting very close friends for dinner for my birthday. I went home after work, our friends picked us up, and we had a great time (and I had a pretty good steak).

After we finished eating, we got into the car for what I thought was a ride home. However, David made a left turn instead of a right turn, and we were soon heading downtown - and nobody would say where we were going, despite my questioning. Wouldn’t you know it, before long we pulled into the parking lot of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and the sign outside said that my favorite contemporary author, Garrison Keillor, would be appearing with the orchestra that night.

That would have been enough, but wait - there’s more. After the performance, my wife pulled his latest book out of a bag, and told me to get it autographed - which I did.

Now that, to me, was the most wonderful birthday present I have ever received. In all the years since then, I’ve tried to put as much thought into my birthday gifts for her as she did for me that night.

So, what was the best birthday gift you ever received?

I didn’t recognize it at the time but looking back, the best birthday gift I ever received was the .22 caliber Marlin lever gun Dad gave me the day I was born.

Nearly 50 years later, I still have that rifle. Many of my fondest memories of my life are connected to that rifle. Learning from my dad how to shoot and maintain it. When times were tough, I was able to put many a rabbit on our table with that rifle and the skills I learned from him. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “You can have my gun when you pull it from my cold dead hands!” Politics and ideology aside, anyone who tries to separate me from that rifle has a fight on their hands.

A boat tour to Rainbow Bridge from the Lake Powell Resort. It came with a 2-night stay in a Lake View suite.

In 1987, my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday. I was 22, attending trade school to be a motorcycle mechanic and riding a chopper, so I asked for money for parts. It was also two years after I was sideswiped and had spent a month in the hospital; I think Mom suggested cookware. What she finally sent was a coffee cup with a silly photograph of a teddy bear on a motorcycle. It’s been broken twice, but I still use it to hold spoons for coffee.

When I was 13 I asked for an electric guitar. My father took me to the local pawn shop and I picked one out. He said if I stuck with it he’d buy me a new one next year.

A year later I turned 14 and was still playing, so my father took me to [what is now Guitar Center, back then it was something else] and bought me a '91 Fender American Strat Plus with the classic sunburst finish and a solid-state Fender amp. I sold the amp decades ago but I still own the guitar. I’ve owned a lot of other guitars in my life but that one has always been my best one.

Eight years old: bicycle.

My Irish Setter puppy. I was 13 and Scarlett meant the world to me for 15 years.

Birthdays aren’t really big deals in my family. So, while it wasn’t exciting or thrilling at the time, I’ll pick the electric toothbrush my grandmother gave me on my 17th birthday. My dental health improved enormously. My dentist commented on it. Cavities became an aberration instead of the norm. So, while I didn’t really notice it, it made a difference in my life.

I have a hard time remembering which presents were birthday and which were Christmas because for me they are only six days apart…

Now I’ve had a lot of great presents. Many were books. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite it would be, from the mid-60’s, a hardback copy of Margerite Henry’s book “King of the Wind” I was in my horsy stage, and besides the story, the illustrations by Wesley Dennis were gorgeous.
One can still get the book but they are usually done more cheaply, soft cover, with the colored illustrations in black and white. I’m glad to have the original.

I learned some things in that book, like what Ramadan is. I knew nothing about Islam, I was eleven or so, and so ignorance was fought!

When I turned 30 my best friends went to the Indians (baseball) game with me. We had good seats, and they had my name on the scoreboard! It’s something anyone can buy but i totally forgot it was a thing and was super surprised to see it. The team sent me a card with a photo of my name on the board, to boot.

Also, my dad came with us and it was the last time he was at a game. He’s not dead, he just doesn’t like that you can’t smoke at the stadium anymore. Annoying and silly but I was so glad he broke his own stubborn rule and came with us!!!

Alpha Twit sorta beat me to it, but:

16th birthday: Remington Nylon 66 .22 rifle. Up to that point I was using my grandfather’s/father’s Stevens single-shot heavy-barrel .22 while my friend had a magazine-fed 10/22.

Forty-some odd years later I still consider it my best birthday present ever.