I almost forgot.
I forget a lot of things but some thing you can’t afford to forget, like your anniversary. I didn’t almost forget that because of a recurring reminder on my phone calendar.
I wisely set that up the year I forgot.
What I almost forgot this time was to buy a card.
My wife is utterly devoted to the custom of giving greeting cards and relies upon them to express the proper emotion for every life event. Cards are so important to her that she waits until the very last minute before picking one out.
We will be running late, trying to make it to a wedding, funeral or grandchild’s birthday when she will say…
“We have to stop at the Quickie-Mart.”
“Why?” I ask, pretending as if I will never catch-on.
“I have to pick up a card.”
Our local Quickie-Mart is what the name suggests, a little gas station market that carries only the essentials of rural life: gasoline, anti-freeze, milk, pizza and greeting cards.
The greeting card rack stands five feet tall and is a very generous two feet wide. It holds cards for weddings, funerals, birthdays and anniversaries – but let’s just say that the selection is limited. In other words, the cards are pretty well picked over. The good ones have long since been signed and slipped into envelopes and the ones that did not sell – well, they remain.
“Oh dear,” my wife says, “I don’t see a single card I like.”
While she is saying this, I am casting my gaze longingly on the infamous Quickie-Mart hot dogs that have been rolling around in the grill for the better part of a month. She has her rituals, I have mine.
“Do you see anything you like?” she asks.
She is not really asking my opinion. What she is doing is asking me to pick out a card. That way she can blame the poor choice on me. I am well known for my bad taste, though very little of that is my fault.
I pick one out.
“It’s not too awful,” she admits.
In this instance the event is a child’s birthday, so I slip a ten-dollar bill into the fold to soften the awfulness.
An hour later at the birthday party, when the child is ripping open cards to get at the ten-dollar bills, I and everyone else at the party politely ignore the fact that all the cards are precisely the same.
This raises an uncomfortable question: did every card come from our local Quickie-Mart?
The answer is a resounding, NO!!.
However, it must be noted that Quickie-Mart is a chain store.
So getting back to where I started this story; I made a quick stop to pick out an anniversary card. Despite the limited selection I found a card that I really liked. On the front was a black and white photo of an elegant couple dancing on a bridge. The scene looked like it could be from London, Paris or Prague and that inspired me to pen a little note.
‘Let’s find that bridge’, I wrote, ‘and dance on it.’
I signed and sealed the card, and feeling rather proud of myself, presented it to her when I got home.
She gave me a rather sheepish look.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
She handed me her card. On its front was a black and white photo of an elegant couple dancing on a bridge.
I smiled away any embarrassment and took both her card and mine and placed them on the mantle above the fireplace – where both couples could dance together.