Christmas Gift Traditions

This supposedly is from a true story–I don’t recall the source. This
beats the stories of the same fruitcake(s) being given back and forth
for years….

Roy Collette and his brother-in-law have been exchanging the same pair
of pants as a Christmas present for 11 years–and each time the
package gets harder to open. This year the pants came wrapped in a car
mashed into a 3-foot cube.

The trousers are in the glove compartment of a 1974 Gremlin. Now
Collette’s plotting his revenge–if he can get them out.

It all started when Collette received a pair of moleskin trousers from
his brother-in-law, Larry Kunkel of Bensenville, Ill. Kunkel’s mother
had given her son the britches when he was a college student.

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, who called the moleskins “miserable”, wore them three times,
then wrapped them up and gave them back to Kunkel for Christmas the
next year.

The friendly exchange continued routinely until Collette twisted the
pants tightly, stuffed them into a 3-foot-long, 1-inch wide tube and
gave them back to Kunkel.

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.

Two years ago, 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. Collette had trouble retrieving the treasured
trousers, but succeeded without burning them with a cutting torch.

Last Christmas, Collette found a 600-pound safe and hauled it to
Viracon Inc. in Owatonna, 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.

Last week, the pants were trucked to Owatonna, 55 miles south of
Minneapolis, in a drab green, 3-foot cube that once was a car 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.

“This will take some planning,” Collette said. “I will definitely get
them out. I’m confident.” But he’s waiting until January to think
about how to recover the bothersome britches.

“Wait until next year,” he warned. “I’m on the offensive again.”