Roy Collette and his brother-in-law exchanged the same pair of pants as a Christmas present for 25 years — and each time the package got harder to open.
It all started in 1964 when Collette received a pair of moleskin trousers from his brother-in-law, Larry Kunkel. Kunkel's mother had given her son the pants the year before. He wore them a few times, but they froze stiff in cold weather and he didn't like them. So he gave them to Collette. Collette didn't like them either, so he wrapped them up and gave them back to Kunkel for Christmas the next year.
The friendly exchange continued each year until one year Collette twisted the pants tightly, stuffed them into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide tube. And so the game began. The next Christmas, Kunkel compressed the pants into a 7-inch square, wrapped them with wire and gave the "bale" to Collette. Not to be outdone, the next year Collette put the pants into a 2-foot-square crate filled with stones, nailed it shut, banded it with steel and gave the trusty trousers back to Kunkel.
The brothers agreed to end the caper if the trousers were damaged. But they were as careful as they were clever.
Kunkel had the pants mounted inside an insulated window that had a 20-year guarantee and shipped them off to Collette. Collette broke the glass, recovered the trousers, stuffed them into a 5-inch coffee can and soldered it shut. The can was put in a 5-gallon container filled with concrete and reinforcing rods and given to Kunkel the following Christmas.
Kunkel installed the pants in a 225-pound homemade steel ashtray made from 8-inch steel casings and etched Collette's name on the side. In turn, Collette found a 600-pound safe and hauled it to Viracon Inc. where the shipping department decorated it with red and green stripes, put the pants inside and welded the safe shut. The safe was then shipped to Kunkel, who is the plant manager for Viracon's outlet in Bensenville.
One year, the pants were trucked back to Collette in a drab green, 3-foot cube that once was a 1974 Gremlin with 95,000 miles on it. A note attached to the 2,000-pound scrunched car advised Collette that the pants were inside the glove compartment. And so it went until 1989, when the pants were finally damaged in an attempt to encase them in 10,000 pounds of jagged glass. They have now been turned to ashes and sit in an urn on Kunkel's mantle.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights ..." (James 1:17)
God's gifts are as wonderful as they are bountiful. I hope that you've taken the time to thank him lately.