In the fourth year of his layoff from his job, Dad gave Mom a dishwasher for Christmas.
You have to understand the magnitude of the gift: Our old house had its original wiring and plumbing, and neither could handle the required installation. There was no spot in the small kitchen for such a large appliance. And we hadn't even been able to meet the mortgage interest payments for over six months.
But Dad hated the thought of washing dishes; he would rather do anything else. And Mom had undergone major surgery that spring, a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, and found it difficult to do any work requiring the use of her arms.
No large box appeared, no new plumbing or wiring was installed, no remodeling of the kitchen occurred. Rather, a small note appeared on a branch of the Christmas tree, handwritten by Dad:
"For one year I will wash all of the dirty dishes in this household. Every one."
And he did. He really did.

- Judy Rogers, Westerville, Ohio in Guideposts, Dec. 1988