A NORMAL DAY IN THE LIFE
Our son was definitely not happy with his mother, but when ‘said son’ deposited me back at our daughter’s home to be greeted by the family, husband Hank’s reactions ran the gamut from overjoyed, thankful, relieved, upset, to fairly angry—in that order. Hank hugged me, checked me all over for injuries, helped me remove my soggy jacket and shoes, and then began a more serious scrutiny.
Hank put a hand under my chin, pulling my head up so that I was forced to look up into his eyes. The ‘Hank stare’ meant serious business. I knew after fifty plus years of marriage that it meant I had better listen.
“Josie, you scared the life out of all of us. The Grands were crying up a storm; I was shaking with absolute fright. You could have been killed! We didn’t know where you went. We didn’t know how you thought you were going to catch that robber. It was a very dangerous thing you did, Josie! Thank God our son is with the Police Department and could follow you! So, we are going to have a long talk. Right now. Whether you want to, or not. I need to know exactly what was going on with you, and all that money, and that thief!”
He ushered me into the living room, sat me down in the big recliner, handed me a cup of coffee (which I discovered after one sip, had been laced with a bit of brandy). Hank sat on the sofa opposite me, two Grands climbed into his lap, while our son settled in next to them holding the baby. The small group waited in silence and stared at me.
I took a long slow sip of the spiked coffee, heaved a huge sigh, settled back in the chair, and began.
“It all began a few months ago when I began to think about our upcoming fifty-second anniversary, Hank. I wanted to do something special. We never really celebrated our fiftieth. I thought it was now or never. We’re not getting any younger, you know.”
Our son looked at Hank, and broke into a coughing spell. (I think he maybe choked a bit.) I knew what he was thinking. He was dealing with a bat-crazy old woman who just happened to be his mother, and a father who couldn’t handle her either. I just stared at my son with my not amused Queen Mother look and continued before the moment was entirely lost.
“I looked into several possibilities, Hank, and decided Hawaii would be nice. You know I always thought “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was our song. Do you remember? And Elvis sang that in the movie “Blue Hawaii.” So, I checked into what it would cost to take a cruise to Hawaii, and then I looked at what we had in savings. We could do it, Hank! We’ve never been to Hawaii. We could go on a cruise ship, enjoy ourselves, see the sights, and then I pictured you singing that song to me on some beach there over moonlit waters. Don’t you think that would be romantic, Hank?”
I glanced at my son and could read his mind. He was running through Kenny Chesney’s beach songs and Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach”! It’s better to just ignore kids when they get like that.
There was a long moment of silence with Hank simply staring at me, interrupted only by our son’s clearing his throat and humming a bit of one of those beach tunes he’d been thinking of.
Hank’s first words, preceded by his own throat-clearing noises were, “It would really cost that much?”
I smiled. I knew I was off the hook. I’d turned the corner so-to-speak. Hank was talking about how much it would cost, and not saying, “Definitely not.” We talked some more, and I explained how I’d explored all the choices and had come up with what seemed to be the best option. I’d made a down payment. But I’d drawn a cashier’s check to pay the travel agent in full. I hadn’t wanted to put it on a charge card, because I’d wanted to keep it all a secret from Hank and make it a big surprise. So much for that idea!
Hank was beginning to soften. I could see it. Then he said, “But what about that guy? The thief in the Packer getup? What’d he do with the money?”
I looked to our son for an explanation of that one.
“He didn’t get a chance to spend any of it, Dad. Mom got to him before he could even take it out of her purse. It’s all there, Dad. And the young fool has been arrested, but I think he’s going to get off. He’s not even twenty-one, and he’s got a sob story that will help him with a judge. Besides, Mom has offered to give him a few hundred to help him out. He was in pretty dire straights, it seems.”
Hank looked at me and raised his eyebrows again. “You gave him more of our money? After he stole your purse? Josie!”
“I felt sorry for the kid. What can I say? You’d want to help him, too, if you heard his whole story, Hank. He was in the bank when I made the withdrawal and overheard one of the tellers talking about the big cashier’s check. That’s why he went after me. He was desperate. He’s a college student, out of food, unemployed, and down to his last gallon of gas. What I gave him will only make a small dent in our savings. I thought if we could help him out a bit, it might change his life.”
Hank sighed and nodded. “I suppose, it’s okay, if you both think it will do some good.”
Our son nodded and stood to hand the baby to me.
“I’ve got to run, Mom. Are you okay, now?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine. We’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I’ll be a little stiff tomorrow, but I think just planning that trip will take all the aches and pains away.”
He gave me a hug, kissed me on top of the head, and headed out the door. I think he was humming Jimmy Buffet’s “Five O’ Clock Somewhere.”
Hank looked at me and said, “Josie, if this was a normal day, I don’t think I can take many more!” We both laughed at that one. It was a good day, after all.
©Gail Lee Cowdin 2020