A few years ago, I volunteered as a gallery guide at Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, SC. If you are not familiar with that glorious place, just go online to check it out.

Part of the beauty of Brookgreen is the sculpture that can be found throughout the garden. Each year, the National Sculpture Society holds a competition. The pieces are displayed in one of the galleries and visitors are allowed to vote for their favorite.

One year, I fell in love with a bronze sculpture - "Seventy Winters" by Herb Mignery of Colorado. It is depicting an aged (70) American Indian astride his horse.

The Indian is all decked out in feathers and carries a spear. He looks very much like a fearsome warrior. However, he looks tired. The creases and lines in his face tell me that all of his life experiences are etched there.

Watching seventy winters go by can take a toll on us. I am approaching my 72nd winter, so I can feel empathy for the Indian.

When the sculpture exhibit was being packed up to ship back to the Society, I asked one of the workers if the Mignery sculpture was for sale. She gave me a website to check.

The "Seventy Winters" bronze was for sale for $14,000. That's thousands, folks. Sculpture is not cheap.

I thought seriously about getting the piece as a Christmas gift for myself. But, on reflection, it seemed foolish to shell out that amount of money. So, I forgot about it, we moved, I left my volunteer job at Brookgreen, and the beautiful sculpture became a lovely memory.

This year, we bought ourselves an Amazon Kindle as our joint Christmas present. It's a wondrous machine and I am enjoying it tremendously. But, in the back of my mind, I thought about the sculpture. It would look wonderful on our fireplace mantle.

There's no way I will ever own "Seventy Winters." However, I did send an email to the artist and ask if there is a smaller, cheaper version that might be for sale. Heck, I'd even be happy with a photo of the thing. I'm waiting to hear back from him.

To me, Christmas presents should be things that the recipient wants badly. Choosing a gift for a loved one is simple if you know what she likes. I love reading books, so our Kindle is a perfect choice.

No one in my family is wealthy enough to get "Seventy Winters" as my gift. I refuse to spend that amount of money on myself.

So, the old Indian and I will stay apart. I hope his owner truly appreciates him.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.