Random header image... Refresh for more!

Mystery Gift

The book that made me want to be a writer — The Phantom Tollbooth — opens with the reader being told to pay close attention to Milo receiving a surprise gift because, one day, the reader may come home and find a mystery gift, and if the reader reads carefully, they will know exactly what to do.

When I was little, I always hoped that I would receive a mystery gift.

And now I’ve grown up and received two.

The first gift came a few years back.  A book mysterious popped up in my mailbox after I received a mysterious, anonymous email.  I was able to deduce the sender after a few days and thank her directly.  I love that book and still keep it handy and use it.

The second gift came yesterday.  I went to the mailbox and there was a package slip inside.  The postmaster handed me a large envelope and inside, without a note or packing slip or any explanation, was a fantastic book:


I drove around, trying to figure out who would send this to me.  Like Milo, I found myself thinking, “I don’t think it’s my birthday, and Christmas must be months away, and I haven’t been outstandingly good, or even good at all.”

And that is the deliciousness of the mystery gift: you not only get the present itself, but you get to unravel the mystery.

It took about an hour of thinking and staring at the illustrations in the book to come up with my first guess.  A clue had been left on Facebook, weeks ago, that led me to the person.  I felt like Sherlock Holmes when I sent her my note.

Thank you, Lori, my mysterious gifter, for the untranslatable words.  You know how much they mean to me, especially when you find the perfect one that states exactly what you need to say.


I’m normally not a big fan of surprises, but I think I make the exception for mystery books.  Surprise trips, surprise parties, surprise experiences… not really my thing.  But surprise books?  That makes my day.

How do you feel about surprises?  And have you ever received a surprise gift?


1 CookieCrumbsInc. { 05.19.15 at 9:53 am }

I LOVE surprises, especially if they are gifts 🙂
But I usually ruin all the surprises planned for me, thanks to my overactive curiosity…

2 CookieCrumbsInc. { 05.19.15 at 9:54 am }

Ugh, I meant books, especially if they are books*

3 Ana { 05.19.15 at 10:26 am }

I’m iffy on surprises (I like the idea, but the reality is too often disappointing, and I’m too inquisitive for most surprises to work) but surprise BOOKS. Can’t possibly go wrong. No way I’d be disappointed with a book someone chose just for me.

4 deathstar { 05.19.15 at 11:08 am }

I like surprises! Once my girlfriend said we were going to get a pedicure for my birthday…. and I assumed it would be one at a nearby place, you know, just one of those regular walk in places. And then she took me to the Hotel Georgia and it was in one of the swankiest spas I’d ever been in! Champagne, hand made chocolates and jellies, loungers, etc. Amazing! And years ago when we went to London, hubby surprised me by announcing we were going business class! Yep, Zsa Zsa Buddhist is what they call me.

5 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.19.15 at 11:16 am }

I love surprises.

This post makes me so happy! I really wanted to find something that would bring you joy. Useful joy.

6 Casey { 05.19.15 at 12:00 pm }


I love The Phantom Tollbooth! I received it as a Christmas gift from a friend a couple of years ago. So pleased it has such a deep connection with you. The last surprise gift I received was a tiny crystal angel, in the week of a dear friend’s birthday. (The first without him on this physical plane.) It has been in my pocket ever since, and got me to London and back safely, whilst lining up a few golden opportunities along the way.

Take care,


7 JustHeather { 05.19.15 at 2:52 pm }

I like surprises, but I also like knowing what is going to happen…
The biggest surprise that readily comes to mind is my friends throwing me a 30th birthday party. I was so shocked that I started crying. LOL. I thought I was there to baby sit a friend’s kids.

8 Vagrant Rhodia { 05.19.15 at 4:25 pm }

Not only do I adore The Phantom Tollbooth but also good surprises!

9 Queenie { 05.19.15 at 7:15 pm }

Do you know that I have never read that? It’s one of the few wee-regarded children’s books I have never read.

10 Queenie { 05.19.15 at 7:16 pm }

PS. Of course you don’t know that! But I haven’t!

11 Mali { 05.20.15 at 4:32 am }

A surprise gift. How delicious!!!

I got one this time last year. I still smile to think about it.

12 Kasey { 05.20.15 at 10:15 am }

I love surprise gifts in the mail.
Also, this is the second time The Phantom Tollbooth has come up this week, so I think it needs to go on my reading list ASAP.

13 nonsequiturchica { 05.20.15 at 3:40 pm }

Surprises are great! I can only imagine how exciting it is for you to receive a surprise book based on your kitchen bookshelf. 🙂

14 Bronwyn Joy { 05.26.15 at 9:52 am }

You still use that book? That is very cool. Sounds like a great new addition to the shelf from Lori 🙂

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author