Being a widow is difficult if the relationship between the two spouses was a good one. There are times that being a widow is harder than other times. Like now. The Holidays. Being a widow and having 12 grandchildren becomes quite expensive and for the first time in many years I am unable to gift my children as well as their children.
Fortunately they understand that I can no longer give boxes of band aids with funny pictures on them to my youngest grandchildren. I don’t know when it happened but they have outgrown the “bandage years.” Now they want more expensive items – they won’t be getting those either – but it doesn’t stop the “wanting.” So not being able to give what I would like to give is a downer but livable.
Under my tree – an artificial one this year – are many presents for my grandchildren, and a few for the foreign language students that have lived with me for over a year. And, there are two presents under the tree for me – one from a former student in Germany and another one from a man that worked for me as a school counselor in 1977! But nothing from Bob; the man that spent months trying to find the most appropriate gift for me and always managed to keep it a secret.
Of course it was reciprocal – I’d spend days finding a gift for him that could not be duplicated by any stretch of the imagination. For example: I once took 60 people to Hollywood Park for the “First running of the Bob Curry sweepstakes” when Hollywood Park was still racing harness horses. Or when we lived in Lake Havasu and I rented two “sled boats” and took 100 people to Laughlin – when Laughlin was just beginning – for the “Bob Curry Bingo Night”.
As I pondered my loss – again – my mailman – Gaston – remember the story I wrote on him? – knocked on my door to deliver my mail and told me that I had a check from the government. (I was bemoaning the fact that my Japanese student will be leaving on December 29th to live with another host family that is cheaper than me.) I told him that I don’t get checks from the government and it must have been a mistake. As we looked at it closer we found that it was from “Government Employees Insurance Co.” – better known as “GEICO”.
We talked about how welcome a check would be right now since Megumi was leaving; the insurance on the house was due, etc. and I proceeded to try to open the check. I tore of the two serrated sides as the directions indicated and then I tried to separate the top from the sides. With my recent trigger finger surgery I could not do so and Gaston had to help me. But it wasn’t that easy – because there was still a third layer of paper between the top and the sides of the check. We could see that it was a refund because it said, “This refund is due to a recent adjustment to your policy.” Wow! I have a new car; maybe they charged me too much for my insurance.
Finally Gaston opened the check and we could see the amount. I think we were two of the most hysterical people in all of Ocean Beach at 2:30pm on December 24th. We read the amount; reread the amount; and again laughed hysterically. The check reads, and I kid you not, “zero and 06/100 dollars”. It is exactly for 6 cents!
I am sure I do not have to point out to you that it cost 44 cents to mail this first class letter; the paper it was printed on with all the serrated edges must have cost at least $1.00; the person that put the data into the computer must have been paid at least minimum wage. I am wondering where I can spend that refund without going to the bank and spending at least 2 minutes in putting it into my account. I don’t know why it wasn’t credited to my account.
You know what I think? I think this is a joke from Bob. He frequently used his Irish Charm to get me laughing. I think he is still around playing practical jokes on me. (At least I hope so.)
Happy Holidays everyone. I’d offer to split the 6 cents with you, but…..
Anna Daniels says
Judi- I had to laugh at the thought of Bob putting his 2 cents in ( with inflation, I guess that is now 6 cents!) Comfort and solace often come from unexpected places during the Hardest of the Holidays. A warm hug Judi. (I am still savoring your gift of jam.)