Every year, each of us, who are breathing in and out, celebrate a birthday. 


As we get older, we complain about birthdays, but quite honestly the alternative sucks.


When birthdays come around, those who truly care about us try to find that special gift to make the day memorable. Oh sure, the obligatory birthday cards get picked out with tender loving care.


The Yard Sale Queen always helps our sweet and darling Yorkie Riley pick out a cute card for my birthday with a gift card to some local restaurant enclosed. Thank you, Riley.


But the Yard Sale Queen has a terrible time finding that perfect gift for me.


“You are the hardest person to buy for,” she whined. “You have everything and, if you don’t have it, you just go out and buy it.”


Well, I don’t have “everything.” I am still, four years later, waiting for that 80-inch HDTV. See, how easy I am to buy for. 


Sometimes, she just caves in and asks what I want and we go pick it out. No secret there, but it’s the thought that counts.


This year, she really outdid herself. 


After more than 13 years together, I know she can be sneaky, conniving and cunning.


My sweet Yard Sale Queen surprised me, big time, this year.


When I got up, I staggered, with sleep still in my eyes, into the kitchen for my daily cup of coffee. 


On the counter sat three glass display cases. Two were filled and one was empty. One held a “coveted” and extremely rare and valuable UVA football autographed by fired football Coach Mike London. I won that in a raffle several years ago just weeks after his firing. Sadly, I don’t think I could pay eBay to take the ball.


Another glass case held a soccer ball autographed by many of the players from last year’s UVA women’s soccer team. Suffice it to say, that is special. The Yard Sale Queen and I love that program.


The third case was empty. Now an empty case is about as useful as the one with the Mike London football.


The Yard Sale Queen told me that she was hoping to have a basketball signed by Tony Bennett, the head coach of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Wahoos.


“Are you kidding me?” I thought.


At a fundraiser two years in a row, I had bid on a Tony Bennett signed basketball, including one I had helped get signed for the fundraiser. I lost both times. The Yard Sale Queen and I love Tony Bennett, in a professional way, of course. 


But there was no basketball, until recently.


Now a UVA Nike brand basketball sits in the glass case proudly on display.


“Wally, Go Hoos. Tony Bennett,” it reads. 


I am so proud of that. I am absolutely giddy.


So how did all this happen? One day, several months before my birthday she somehow got my phone and looked up a number of a friend, with UVA connections. She told him her plan and he agreed try to help make it happen, with the soccer ball and basketball.


She went to Michaels and purchased the three cases and hid them.


With the valuable Mike London-signed football in hand, the soccer and basketball took time.


I later learned that the soccer ball came from Morgan Stearns, a four-year starter and record holding goalkeeper, who we know. 


Getting the basketball proved a bit more problematic. I think Coach Bennett was a tad bit busy after winning the national championship Apr. 8. He had speaking engagements, interviews, recruiting and a vacation with his wife on his agenda. Signing basketball wasn’t high on his priority list. 


But all good things come to those who wait. 


The Yard Sale Queen got me. Boy did she get me on that one. I will treasure those gifts until my dying days. 


Which makes me think. Do they make coffins large enough to hold a soccer ball and basketball and of course that valuable football?

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