Thin Threads: more real stories of Life Changing Moments
Publisher: Kiwi Publishing Co.
Published November, 2010.
Paid Not to Golf
by Kitty Chappell
As I sat on the patio enjoying a freshly-brewed cup of coffee, a playful gust of wind swirled the fragrance from our rose garden around me, filling my nostrils with sweetness and my mind with bittersweet memories. It was Valentine’s Day and I shivered with fresh loneliness, aching for my husband Jerry who had passed away only nine months earlier. Following a golf game, how he had loved sitting here with me drinking his favorite French Vanilla coffee—especially from this china.
Running my finger around the cup’s delicate 14-karat gold-rim, I again admired the beauty of the bright-colored roses gracing its sides, inside and out. I sighed deeply and took another slow sip. Leaning back in the patio chair, I recalled the many years I had dreamed of owning this set of Royal Albert Old Country Roses china, but that was all I could do—dream. It was way out of our price range as one dinner plate cost $100! I poured a fresh cup from the carafe, and chuckled as I thought, had I played golf, I wouldn’t now be enjoying this long dreamed-of china!
I thought back to a time when I had timidly suggested to Jerry how I felt somewhat resentful that he spent money on golfing while I had no extra money for anything. “It’s really not fair that just because I don’t golf that I don’t also get money to do fun things I want to do.”
“Honey, you can buy anything you want, anytime you want it, and you can do anything you want. You know that,” he chided softly.
“That’s true,” I admitted with a sigh, for I used the same check book as he. “But I feel frivolous if I spend money on things that I don’t really need, and I don’t have a sport that I enjoy. Besides, you know money sometimes is tight.”
Pondering that for a moment, he asked gently, “Are you saying I shouldn’t golf?”
“No, of course not,” I replied. “You work hard and you need to relax. You enjoy golfing more than anything else and I would never want you to stop,” I answered sincerely. I knew he always used coupons and rarely paid the full price for green fees, but inwardly I thought, I work hard too, long evening hours at the hospital.
Jerry’s friends had introduced him to golf right after we were married. That was the beginning of a love affair that lasted until his departure for heaven 47 years later. I smiled, remembering how he sometimes lovingly referred to me as his golf widow. I thought sadly “Was it only nine months ago that I became his real widow?”
I cherished the memories of drinking coffee with him from these very cups following a golf game. As he excitedly replayed each stroke, I fought to keep my mind from wandering. I really didn’t mind, though, for I treasured just listening to his voice as he talked about the sport he loved so dearly. Fortunately, my memory was never tested!
Several days following our conversation in which I had lamented my lack of spending money, Jerry said, “Sweetheart, I’ve been thinking about what you said and you’re absolutely right. You too should have extra money to spend any way you want.
Here’s $25 for this month and I’ll give you that amount every month. Don’t you dare spend it on groceries or bills or any necessities! And as our new business grows, I’ll up the amount. That’s only fair.”
We both knew he didn’t need to give me any money, but we both also knew I would never set any aside for myself.
I was thrilled. The problem was having this extra money was so special that I didn’t want to spend it. I decided to save it and wait until just the right treasure or event came along. Soon, my monthly allotment grew to $100. Each month when I received a crisp one hundred dollar bill, I added it to my cache which I kept in a special place. I knew I should have put it in the bank; it would be safer there, but I wanted it near me, immediately accessible when the right occasion arose for its use.
One day I passed through the crowded china section of a department store and noticed a 50 per cent off sign. With other things on my mind, I continued walking until I noticed a display of exquisite china, also 50 per cent off. I stopped and stared. It was my long-forgotten-about dream china.—Royal Albert, Old Country Roses!
I ran home for my money and excitedly returned, praying “God, please don’t let all of my special china be gone.” I selected enough pieces to complete a service for six and tingled at the thought of surprising Jerry with my new-found treasure. “He is going to be SO excited!” I thought. Jerry also loved roses and years ago had admired this china as much as I.
After a clerk took my china to the counter, I stood in a long line, my purse laden with cash. By the time I arrived at the cash register, the line behind me was even longer. When the young cashier glanced at my china, she sighed and confided, “I love this china and have wanted it for a long time. But I know I could never afford it.”
I smiled and said, “Do you see these wrinkles, honey? Guess how long I’ve waited!”
After she rang everything up and announced the total, I began peeling off $100 bills. She exclaimed “That’s a lot of money!” The line behind me suddenly grew quiet.
“Yes it is,” I answered, “and it has taken me a long time to save it. This is my golf money.”
“You won all of this playing golf?” she gasped.
“Oh, no,” I said, “I received this from my husband for not playing golf.”
Murmurs ran through the line behind me. “Why didn’t I think of that!” one woman grumbled. Another exclaimed, “What a great idea!” Several others said simultaneously, “Wait until I get home!”
When Jerry arrived home that evening, the china was displayed on the dining room table in all its beauty. In the center was a matching vase containing fresh cut fragrant roses from our garden. His expression was worth waiting for. He was elated and impressed. “You mean you saved all that money? I can’t believe it!”
After that, Jerry surprised me on my birthdays, Valentine’s Day and at Christmas with special pieces to complete my set. Thanks to his china gifts, my monthly golf money, and the annual half-price sales, my set grew to a complete service for twelve.
For over seven years we enjoyed our china together. Even the simplest meal became elegant when served on the china and eaten by candlelight. I used it often. I had waited too long and wasn’t about to save it for special occasions. Life is short and every day with my wonderful husband was a special occasion, made even more special because he had paid me not to play golf.
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