Frances broke into the late afternoon busyness of my office, announced by the ring of the telephone.
"Hello dear," she said, "I'm just calling to tell you that there's no worship practice tonight."
She went on to explain that there was a forecast of blowing snow, and around here we all know that when wind combines with a snow storm, the roads between Bond Head, Alliston and Tottenham resemble a white version of the Bermuda Triangle. Things vanish and are never seen again.
I couldn't let her go without asking, though, "Did Brian like his pie?"
When Brian donated two bushels of apples to The Cause he said with a smile, "I hope I at least get a pie out of this." I was only too happy to oblige, I was so grateful for the apples. And I had entrusted the golden treasure to Frances at church on Sunday morning, to give to him.
As I waited, she hesitated, "Well," she said, sounding like she wished I hadn't asked, "I gave it away."
"You gave away Brian's pie?"
And then she told me how she had borrowed a truck to pick up some furniture and the only thing she could think of to thank the person with was--yes, Brian's pie. It even went to the person, with Brian's name on it with a little white sticker!
"Oh, well," I said, trying not to mind, "I guess that is between you and Brian."
"Well, he seems to forgive me for just about everything lately," she said. And that, I thought, was a very good thing.
But,in my heart of hearts I did mind--and not so much for Brian's sake as mine! I wanted to hear that Brian had LOVED the pie. How self centred is that? Yes, I know. :)
After work, because Paul was out at a meeting and I had no worship practice, I went to Costco. When I got home, hours later, Paul was home and we unloaded the car in the frigid night air (with no blowing snow on the horizon after all thank goodness,) and then I came in at last, thankful to be home and in the warm house, and put the kettle on for a cup of tea.
The water had just hit the tea bag when the phone rang. It was Frances.
"I'm sorry for hurting your feelings. Will you forgive me?" she said.
I laughed, "Well, my feelings were hurt, but knowing that you care and understand, they aren't hurt any more. And you were already forgiven. I knew I was being silly."
And I told her how I'd been telling myself that once you give someone a gift it is theirs to do with, whatever they like, "But," I said, trying to justify my feelings a bit, "It would be like you giving a gift to Paul, and me taking it and giving it to someone else."
"But he did that, remember?" she said.
I said, "Oh?"
"Yes. I had to get over him giving away the Canada hat and mittens I gave him for Christmas a few years ago, although I know that's not quite the same thing."
"Hmmm," I said, "Well, anyway, I'm glad you gave the pie away, because this is better than if you hadn't."
"What do you mean?" she said.
"Well, now we both understand one another that much better."
"That's just silly," she said and we were both laughing.
As I finished unpacking the last of the groceries, I told Paul about our conversation, reminding him of his hat and mitten faux pas.
I said, "Men's relationships are so much less complicated, aren't they?"
He made a noise that indicated both, "Yes," and that he was very glad, too.