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The Good Wife’s Guide

As predicted, most of the male students in my writing class wrote about war experiences they had or heard about. One brave guy wrote about his boot camp team’s loss in a war games. His report started a whole discussion on how to call war preparation a “game.” I didn’t want to read my report out loud so when I turned it in, I placed a note on it requesting anonymity. My title was “Sealed with a Kiss” and featured  Steve as a crusader for the rights of women who wanted to shovel snow without being directed by embarrassed men not to do so. Not a revolutionary fantasy but I was determined to keep the fiction as real as possible. I didn’t keep it so real to allow Steve to read it before turning it in though. I got an A and was pretty flattered by Lucy’s notes in the margins. I had started a file for my finished stories. I wanted to keep them for a review and as a collection of my work.

Junior had added Superman to his list of current fantasy heroes and wore a t-shirt with the big S logo every time it was clean. At dinner, I asked him what made a man super and Junior talked about Superman’s ability to fly and see through things and fool people in his disguise. When he was done listing Superman’s qualities, I asked my question differently by asking what made his daddy a super man. Both Daisy and Junior giggled. When Junior realized that Steve and I were just staring back at him and not laughing, he got quiet. Now we really had his attention.

Following a little stammering, Junior said that Steve had a regular job like Clark Kent and liked a lady who wrote stories at the newspaper who was always finding trouble. I wasn’t sure if the description of Lois was based on me so I lifted my eyes to give Junior a better look. I asked if Steve had any other traits that matched a super hero. Junior thought for a moment and said that Steve’s comings and goings were always special. I guess the real Superman flying in to admiration and leaving with a lot of attention caught Junior’s attention. Junior went on to explain that his daddy always made sure to stop and say good-bye to him every day with some special send off. When Steve returned after work there was always a conquering hero welcoming with hugs and kisses. Yes, Steve comings and goings were special. I tried hard not to compare mine since I was usually around more of the time and the children didn’t see me leave.

I knew that I could improve my comings and goings, starting with Steve. Sometimes, I don’t stop for that split second to appreciate him enough as he goes off to work or comes home. Tomorrow, as he heads out the door, I’ll be ready to give him a proper send off. Or at least one more memorable of the contribution he makes to our family finances. After that, I will start to take some extra time to focus on sending the kids off with more love and reminding them when they return home how valued they are. We could all use a little more of that.

The Look of Love

The whole babysitter dilemma situation always reaches a fever pitch on Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re dating at home. With coursework, housework, kids care and a cold coming on, I gave up trying. It was going to be impossible for the supply of babysitters to meet the needs of couples on a Friday night. Steve would have to settle for my cooking. I could serve our dinner after feeding the children and even light some candles. I told him not to bother with flowers and a gift this year. I wasn’t sure I was in the correct frame of mind. Mags told me I was in a rut. Possibly.

To celebrate the day in a smaller fashion, I packed lunches with heart-shaped sandwiches and cupcakes with pink icing. I slipped heart-shaped brownies into Steve’s briefcase with a sweet note. I am a good writer. Following Edie’s example, I brightened up and found a pale pink sweater to wear and even put on my pearls. Voila, I turned myself into a Valentine. For dinner, I made fried chicken and mac and cheese for the kids and put two drops of red dye into their milk glasses to make it festive. I always make them say what they love about their family and they groan before quickly giving some generic answer. After dinner, I let them watch TV while Steve and I ate alone. Junior made “kissy” noises at the doorway when I lit the candles and turned out the lights. I opened a bottle of wine and sautéed my best Steak Diane to serve with roasted baby potatoes and baby peas. I wonder why small food is considered more loving? Steve’s favorite chocolate cake was dessert for all of us. It was a lovely evening. No big declarations of love, just sweet little affirmations. Steve and I even got construction paper cards from the children.

After Daisy and Junior finally went to bed, I changed into a pretty nightgown and combed my hair. I excused myself and went into the kitchen to get the tray I had set up earlier for Steve and me. I placed a handful of Hershey’s kisses on a plate in a heart shape. I carried the tray with our drinks and fancy crackers and cheese back to the bedroom. We stayed up late watching Jack Paar and enjoyed Chi Chi Navarro  dancing and singing Calypso. It was our floor show. Steve didn’t seem to mind the do-it-yourself romantic evening at home. There was no slow dancing but no babysitter to drive home and pay either. When I got up to refill our glasses, Steve slipped an envelope onto the tray. Inside I found an hand-written IOU for a night out. It was a great idea. We could pick our own night of love to enjoy and we wouldn’t have to share it with everyone else. I knew we could sleep in a little in the morning. I had told the children to play quietly if we weren’t out of bed when they woke up.

Everyone was in such a good mood the next day, I made heart-shaped pancakes. They were a little rough on some sides, but tasted great. Loosening my standards for the holiday gave love a whole new look.

Please, Let Me Help

Another big snow storm. It was the third in two weeks. Our goodwill toward each other was slipping away like a skier going downhill. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeves and I always have planned activities to do indoors in the winter. We had used them up quickly in the last two weeks. The children had gone to school for a day or two and then the next storm would hit. Overtime the streets got cleaned up and the driveways and sidewalks became walkable, the work was covered over by another few inches of thick heavy snow. Steve’s back hurt so much, he let me help a little. I noticed that he watched up and down the street while clearing the snow to insure he wasn’t embarrassed by getting some assistance. He sent me inside quickly if he thought one of the guys saw me.

I was over the pretense. Before the next snowfall slowed and he noticed it was time to go outside to clear our part of the sidewalk, I called the Moms tree. Years ago, my girlfriends and I had devised a system to share important information. You called the next person on the list we had created and that person called the next person in line. With one call, we could spread a lot of information quickly. I rang up Chloe and told her that before Steve went outside, I was going to start the snow removal and I invited her to do the same. She agreed to call the next mom and then I saw her outside a few minutes later digging into the snow and scooping it up. Chloe had good technique and made solid walls to clear her sidewalk. Gradually, I saw other women come out, some with kids, and start the process in front of their own homes. We were a mighty force. By the time the men noticed, the girls had removed a lot of snow. As each man come out of hibernation, his wife pointed out that all the women were outside. Some men laughed and realized what had happened. There were women outside who weren’t even on our call tree. I think they just came out to support our movement. When Steve came out and I asked him to look up and down the block, he chuckled to himself and disappeared. He came back with the broom and another shovel and we both finished the task together.

I went inside first to fix some hot cocoa and a snack for the children. For the two of us, I warmed some brandy. I will admit that my back hurt a little the next day, but some aspirin took away the pain quickly. I knew that my girlfriends and I hadn’t started any revolution, but I like to think that most of the men appreciated our effort. My expectations didn’t include any illusions about the men being comfortable with our working outside all the time but maybe there was room for us to help every now and then. Change is best accepted gradually, one shovel at at time.

Role-Playing

The writing assignments for Lucy’s class this semester were on a whole new level. Each assignment was intentionally lengthened to help us create stories with more depth. More words always means more work in creating, editing and typing. My typewriter seemed to be permanently in use this term. There were choices in the syllabus and the Valentine’s Day assignment permitted us to choose between a short story on war or a romance novelette. I knew what I wanted to choose but figured having Edie help with my story would result in a higher grade. I only knew war stories from those the guys discussed.

Unfortunately, the heroes in my life were limited to the grocer, my car mechanic and Mr. Friel, who delivered the beer. I didn’t have any costumed characters to draw inspiration  from. I was certain it would be improper for me to create a fantasy about any of my friends’ husbands. I called Edie and asked if I could check in with her. Edie was getting bigger but could still move around pretty easily. The swelling in her feet was under better control also. I explained my homework to Edie and she sat back in her chair. I was uncertain what she was a thinking. Edie told me that she had never thought about using someone she knew in a story. Edie said she used some children’s picture encyclopedias that she purchased from a yard sale for inspiration. There was no shortage of possibilities in the books – princes, sheiks, lumberjacks, barons, etc. The premise that an ordinary man could be a hero in one of her novels seemed almost amusing. They would have to be in disguise somehow, like a mistaken identity.

This fact actually gave me my idea on how to write the story. I was going to make Steve my hero. Once that light went off in my head, Edie just gave me some pointers on exotic places and things to include. I wasn’t sure how exotic the place would be since I had not travelled much. I asked to borrow one of the encyclopedia and would choose the fun stuff from there.

After that, we talked about the baby. I wanted Edie to know that she could call at anytime, even if late at night when the time came if Artie wasn’t in town. Edie let me know that Artie had planned some time off around her due date and she was hoping the baby would be prompt. Even so, I let her know that it was okay to call. First babies are a lot of work because you want to do everything right. Second babies tend to come more easily and the nervousness decreases due to all of the mistakes you make on your first child.

I’ve Got a Secret

Since they moved in next door, Daisy and Marie-Claire have been best friends. They go to the same school, they take dance classes together and often play with each other on the weekends. Marie-Claire sometimes comes along when Daisy and I do errands and Daisy accompanies Chloe and Marie-Claire on local shopping adventures. Marie-Claire and Daisy get along well and on occasion, Daisy answers my simple questions in French instead of English; I think that is a bonus. I would say they are best friends. Mags has been my best friend since we moved to Monterey Park. She was the first neighbor I met and we got along well from the first conversation we had, but I don’t think there are limits on the number of friends one can have.

Daisy came home asking about another little friend from school who wanted to be Daisy’s best friend. Daisy’s questions centered on how she should respond. I asked Daisy what she thought a best friend should be. Her answers reflected the world of a young girl. She cited someone to play with, share stories with, allow to use her toys and tell secrets to. I asked her if her new friend met her criteria and she thought for a few seconds. Then she suddenly thanked me and left to roller skate on the sidewalk with Marie-Claire. I was still in the dark on the answer to the big question.

I glanced out the window from time to time as the girls skated along in front of our houses. They giggled, smiled and attempted tricks. I knew they wouldn’t be out long because it was getting colder and their cheeks were already getting flushed. This break in the weather was temporary and they would be playing inside for a while before spring arrived. I stepped out the door to let them know they had just a few minutes left and saw Daisy’s foot start to drag her skate that had unbuckled and gotten loose. I took her skate key and planted her foot back inside the skate to tighten it. Daisy thanked me and skated off. Daisy and Marie-Claire skated into each other’s arms and automatically turned and skated at the same pace down the sidewalk in front of Marie-Claire’s. Maybe that is how a best friendship should be, automatic, like you know exactly what to do for each other. I knew I was lucky having Mags and felt the same way about Chloe also. We shared secrets during our morning talks and put our heads together sometimes to speak without others hearing. It wasn’t necessarily because we were saying anything wrong but we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they didn’t think the same way.

Daisy and Marie-Claire came inside to warm up and Daisy asked if Marie-Claire could stay for dinner. I told her to have Marie-Claire ask her mother if it was okay. The girls put their heads together and called next door. Chloe gave permission and the girls went off to wash up. Junior came into the kitchen and I asked him to set the table. I think it is important for boys to know how to do every chore as well as a girl would. How else would they take care of themselves when they grew up. He grumbled a little but started the task anyway. The girls came in and helped him and after Steve came home, we all ate together. Daisy asked Steve who his best friend was at dinner. Steve looked over at me to check if there was some right answer to provide but I purposely looked at my plate to cut my food. Steve asked Daisy what she meant and she repeated her criteria she had given me earlier. In that case, Steve told her, Mommy is my best friend. The children all giggled. Steve had lots of friends, work pals, golfing buddies, some men from the church and the neighborhood was full of men he competed with in lawn duels. I thought about that. Our friends are mostly nearby. Those old friends we had moved away from were still important people in our lives but they couldn’t really meet the criteria as Daisy pointed out.

Daisy told Steve about the little girl at school and he asked her what she was going to tell her. Now I would finally know the answer to the burning question. Daisy sat for a moment and said that they could start out as friends first. She wanted to keep best friend status for those closest to her. I think I do too. Sharing with lots of friends is great but having best friends is special. After the kids went up to bed, my best friend Steve made me a cocktail and we sat cuddled up on the sofa watching TV. There was something extra special about having a best friend you can snuggle up with. I leaned my head on Steve’s shoulder and told him how much I appreciated his answer at dinner. He just smiled. I really couldn’t tell if he was just happy he chose the right answer or relieved he didn’t name one of the guys, but I took it as a good sign anyway.

When Did I Do That?

The slushy aftereffects of the last snowfall still hid the yard in patches. The kids were in school, Steve was at work, I did not have class and my housework was done. This was golden time for me and I kept a running list of tasks in my head for opportunities like this to check them off.

For the first couple of years after the children came along, I kept the pictures we took and corner-glued them into books. After that, I lined them up in an old shoebox in the order we took them and most had a small date stamp on them already, so I knew I could put them back in order when I started the next album. I noticed that I needed to start a 3rd shoebox at Christmastime. I was behind and needed to work on it to catch up. I loved looking at the books to remember how the kids used to look at each age. I was included in some also, but not many. I did not like the way I looked in photos.

I pulled out the new photo book and box of corners and a dark marker to make notes under some photos. I realized that I couldn’t remember where we were in some earlier photos or who was in every picture and wanted to correct that moving forward. I thumbed through the photos and smiled at the changes I already noticed. Junior was way taller now and Daisy didn’t have that little Shirley Temple look any longer. Change occurs so gradually when you are living through each year and only accumulates in ways you can notice over time. As I placed each picture, I added a few notes about the place or the date if I could determine it and the names of anyone in the picture. I tried to print the details to make it legible. Time seemed to speed by as I wandered back in my memories. I envisioned a day in the future when my own children would look over these albums at their childhood. I couldn’t recall much of my own and there were very few pictures of me to help me remember. Parenting is a chance to make corrections. I wanted to improve specific wrongs from my childhood for my kids and I hoped they didn’t have too many complaints on me. I would never be the perfect mom, but I was pretty good.

When the kids came banging through the back door to take off their wet gear, I steered them to the kitchenette. I started to gather up the pictures but Daisy stopped to ask about one and Junior joined us in looking at pictures for a few minutes. Reluctantly, I gathered the rest up and returned them to the shoebox for another day of sorting. Daisy and Junior enjoyed looking over their own memories and laughed at how they looked while we ate our snack. After homework, dinner and bed, Steve asked about the shoeboxes and I shared what I was working on. Strangely, Steve had no idea that I had been keeping up with pictures and asked to look through the finished albums. Steve sat at the table with me looking at his past until we finally went to bed.

As he looked through the pictures, I heard him chuckle a few times. His reaction was a great incentive for me to keep up with our past more often. Time, even though it didn’t really exist, affected everything in life.

The Blues and the Grays

What makes cold sunless days so dismal? As I have stated previously, I really like clouds. Even when the sky is one big gray cloud, I take note. Clouds are weather wonders and I hold onto my childhood belief that God lives in sunlight. So it must be the absence of sunlight that makes me feel blue and dress in grays. This personal statement is my own method of dealing with the world. Not like a silent protest; more like an understanding.

I was grateful not to have to leave the house and wanted to finish the ironing. It’s a good task to complete when it’s cold because the steam keeps me toasty. I had the board set up and started to starch Steve’s shirt collars, when the door bell rang. I found Edie on my doorstep. She was bundled up in her fur coat with leather gloves but no hat. Her nose was a bright red and she pulled her coat closely to her slowly growing tummy. I brought Edie inside and offered to make her some hot cocoa. She joined me in the kitchen. As she took off her coat, she apologized for interrupting my ironing. Edie was dressed in a bright yellow maternity top. It had pinafore tucks and she looked like a sunbeam. I complimented her top and broke open the cookie tin so Edie could help herself. Edie’s face warmed up and she started to let me know how she was feeling. Artie was away on a four day trip. I imagine Edie got lonely sometimes but I was a little jealous of her freedom to use her time anyway she liked while Artie was away.

Edie was feeling better than the last time we spoke and I had been calling her every couple of days to check in on her. Edie was funny and thoughtful and was still working on her romance novels. She had decided to write in a couple of main characters who were also expecting and found out that her publisher insisted on these characters being married before the pregnancies occurred. She was trying to be to truthful for the reading public. Well, he reminded her that the books were fantasies. It’s true, I rarely met a handsome pirate or prince at the local market.

While Edie spoke, I noticed how often she smiled. Maybe her outlook was reflected in her clothing choices like mine. Except, her mood was sunny. Usually, maternity tops look a little dowdy, but not on Edie. It must be something inside of her that made her shinier than  me. I was really hoping that Edie had a baby girl. A boy might be a handful without a father around all of the time. And those blue clothes that later become dark pants to hide the grass stains and striped shirts and big-buckled boots are not like Edie’s dainty persona. Edie deserved a baby girl that she could dress in her signature bright colors. We spent a good hour talking and laughing before Edie headed home. Daughters are true reflections of their mothers no matter how much they adore their dads.

As I opened the front door to walk her out, rays of sunshine peeked out from the clouds. I felt a little better about the weather and smiled to myself. I returned to my ironing and sang along to the radio as a pressed the shirts. Maybe there were some hidden rays in me too. I am going to consciously try to start choosing some brighter colors to wear. Even if the sun doesn’t shine, I can help to brighten the day.

Hurry Up

Life has a way of speeding up. It’s 1958. How did that happen? My son is starting to stand so tall, he will be looking me in the eye soon. Daisy looks like a little lady. Don’t get me wrong; they are kids who play and get dirty and argue about the silliest stuff, but they walk upright and don’t look like my little babies anymore. I needed to adjust my usual habits and expectations. Babying Junior would result in embarrassment for him and I wanted him to get along with his pals as he grew. Daisy would probably always be my little baby girl in my heart but becoming a young lady would be fun to see also. I know when I went through my teenage years, I was sulky and moody sometimes but there were so many bigger issues with the war that my needs were buried. My mother struggled with doing part time work at the local plant and did not like having to do housework also. She was grumpy a lot but her life was not what she signed up for. She was glad when the men came home and took back the jobs.

Before college classes started back up, I wanted to do some baking and spoil my family. There wasn’t always time for fresh, hot cookies every afternoon when I had homework and reading to finish. Steve really appreciated when I made his mother’s recipes and her Moist Date Bread is easy to make. For breakfast, I toasted a piece for him in a buttered skillet and the heat brought out the sweetness of the dates. Chloe and I enjoyed some with coffee late one morning. Chloe was not familiar with date bread but the subtlety of the sweetness was very French. She still did not like how much sugar was in American recipes. I reminded her that she was free to decrease the amount of sugar in recipes, which she reassured me she was already doing.

Next week classes start. I was jumping into the deep end with my tutor in math, Edie. I was taking a class with my good friend, Mr. Snow. At the start of the semester, the number of classes and homework seem like such a challenge. The spring feels far away but I have already been in school for a year now. I was afraid to try and figure out how long I would be going to school to get a dozen classes finished. It seems so far away. It’s perplexing, the days seem to go on forever but the year had flown by. Even Mother Jones’ Date Bread was a part of time. After so many years, I was still making it and finding ways to enjoy it all over again. Maybe that overlap is natural. We’ll see.

Cold Enough For You?

The weather was gruesomely winter. Since the first of the new year, I have been afraid to remove all of my clothes for fear of catching pneumonia. The children have been taking quick baths and sitting on the heating registers to warm up afterwards. Steve seems to be enjoying the cold for some unfathomable reason and whistling a lot. I will never understand men. I bundle the children up in snow gear just to walk to the car, which adds a good 20 minutes to every trip. I planned on getting over to the college bookshop to round up my texts before the term began. I like to get a jump on the reading and reading ahead was key to success with Mr. Snow. I was hoping he would be happy to see me in class again. I thought that bringing the kids along might be a good idea. Exposing my children to higher learning is part of my overall plan. Junior and Daisy are both smart and excel in some subjects, but not all. I couldn’t figure out if it was just a case of not applying themselves enough or lack of natural talent. No one had ever encouraged me to go to school or do well. It did not seem to be anyone’s expectation for me. I liked proving to myself that I was able to do well in my classes.

There were few students on campus and the bookstore had stacks of texts ready for the term. The children thought that there would be books for them at the store and were disappointed with the thick texts and boring shelves of notebooks. I told them that we would also be stopping at Miesel’s and they gave me a puzzled look. I suppose going to eat ice cream in freezing temperatures seemed a little foolish but I assured them that the ice cream was actually warmer than the outside weather.

We slid into a booth and Junior decided that he was too big to order his regular ice cream and decided to order a banana split. I wasn’t sure he would be able to eat the whole thing but he has a good appetite and it sure looked pretty. Daisy ordered her sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top. I opted for coffee. Holiday eating had added a couple of pounds and I needed to work them off before school started. It’s strange how my year revolved around school now. Not just the children’s calendar, but mine also. I had picked up a new planner to get even more organized this term.

As we left the pharmacy, big flakes of snow started to fall and the children tried to catch them on their tongues as we walked back to the car. I wasn’t exactly crazy about snow with the cold weather but they do tend to follow each other. Maybe I could burn off a few pounds playing with the children outside. I am an expert fort maker. I could even help out with the snow shoveling if Steve allowed me. He gets very territorial with snow removal from the sidewalks. It’s like his lawn love in the summer. A blade out of place is noticed.

When we woke up the following morning, everything was covered in ice. Although pretty, like a wonderland, it looked frigid. The children stared out the window and blew on the glass trying to melt the little ice designs. I made hot chocolate and oatmeal to warm up our insides. We listened to the radio for the school closings and the when Junior heard them call out the name of his school, he ran to his room to start to layer on his play clothes. Daisy didn’t seem as interested in going outside yet. When Junior was completely bundled up, he headed outside and I could see him with the other boys on the block pulling each other on their sleds. The whole street looked like ice and no one was driving anywhere. As the sun rose in the brilliant blue sky, Daisy, Steve and I went outside. Steve was looking for something to melt ice with and Daisy and I slid on the sidewalks over to meet Chloe and Marie-Claire out front. Chloe was still surprised by really cold weather and her nose was bright red. I realized that meant that my nose was bright red also. Zettie Louise was pulling kids on a large cardboard box attached to the back of a bike. I was glad it was not her motorcycle. Eventually, the girls were brave enough to be pulled and Chloe walked along with me on the sidewalk. The men in the neighborhood were doing their snow removal thing.

The children finally got cold and headed home. As the kids changed out of their snow clothes, I started to heat up milk for hot chocolate and make a snack. Steve came in for a break and got some coffee for motivation. As we sat around the kitchenette, I remembered how much I liked these days that stopped us from automatically moving ahead with our lives and tasks. The children really were growing fast and were quite interesting at times. I could not recall a time when my parents ever sat at the table with me in my youth, just talking. Our generation was much more integrated with our kids. I focused on making memories for myself knowing that someday soon it would just be Steve and I alone again. I had never really thought about that before. I wondered what we would talk about besides the weather.

 

Two for Fore

Christmas had exploded onto most of the houses in my neighborhood. There were lights dangling from rooftops, mounted on trees, wrapping bushes and circling light poles. It seemed brighter outside than daylight. The blinking lights were multi-colored and gave a coloring book glow to the yards. Steve strung up lights across the front of our house and down the sides. I wanted boughs of evergreen around the door and he added lights to those too. The porch edging had lights and the bushes glowed under the windows. It was two bulbs short of garish. People walked up and down the block to enjoy each other’s displays and dogs were walked longer than any other month of the year as their owners stopped to talk to each other along the way.

The tree inside of the house was well decorated and I had moved the ornaments around enough to even them out after the kids got tired of hanging them around the part of the tree they could reach. The tinsel wasn’t too clumped despite the boredom of the task of putting each strand into place and increasing the amount of strands as the task wore on. I was able to go over to Mags’ house and rewrap the kids’ presents that I had stashed there after Junior found my closet hiding place. He still talked about believing in Santa even if he had his doubts. Daisy was upset that I had delivered the gifts to the orphanage without her because she wanted to see the orphans who got all the gifts I had wrapped. I felt so badly about lying to her that I did bring a donation to the orphanage to make up for my guilty lie.

I noticed that Steve had placed a couple of nicely wrapped small gifts under the tree for me but I was still wrestling with getting him something better than new clothes or pajamas. He smells good all the time and does not care for fancy cologne. I finally went out to the club and visited the shop for ideas. D.J. Thrush was the club pro and was there checking out some new clubs. I thought he would be a good person to ask for ideas. He mentioned that he had played a round with Steve back in October and noticed that he was hooking some shots. I asked him about lessons and arranged for some private instruction at Steve’s convenience. As an added gift, I signed us both up for couples lessons also. Steve often asked me to join him when he played at the club. In the past, I didn’t have a babysitter, but Junior is getting to the age where he can watch his sister for a couple of hours. Golf is a good sport for the two of us to enjoy well into retirement. My only worry is that I will probably be better than Steve.

On Christmas Day, the children opened their gifts with great happiness and held each one up to show us what Santa brought to them. Junior moved through his gifts quickly and Daisy took a few minutes to individually examine her new tea set, dolls and games, finishing well after Junior. Junior asked to be excused to listen to his 45s in his room and Daisy wanted to introduce her new dolls to her existing brood. Since the children were well occupied, Steve and I opened our gifts. Steve bought me a lovely bracelet and earring set; it was very glam. Another box had a long pair of leather gloves with fur trim. He opened his requisite clothing and made a fuss over the plaid pajamas. The last present he would open would be the envelope with the lessons. He fished around under the tree and pulled out another envelope and handed it to me. He opened his note with the lessons and was very grateful. When he saw the second certificate for the couples lessons, he chuckled and told me to open my envelope. I tore it open and saw a picture of a beautiful baby blue golf bag with new clubs sticking out of it. I guess we both had the same idea in a way. I read in the ladies magazine that every couple should have a game or sport they share. I guess ours might be golf.