Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmas Wish

I didn’t mean to lure you here under false pretenses.  I don’t have a story for you – well now, that is not exactly true.  I do have several stories that you might be interested in, but I've been too busy to find the time to write.

Right now I simply wanted to take a moment to let you know I’m still here, still behaving like a perfect angel (that’s nearly true) and that Tom is still keeping his arm in shape with frequent loving attention to his favorite part of my anatomy.

Annie and Andy are here for the holidays, Allie is home from school and there is constant activity here.  I do love it!  For so many years Tom and I were alone.  Loving each other completely, but still it was just the two of us.  Now we not only have our friends here, we have a son – a son!  Not to mention a daughter-in-law to be.  Our lives are full and so very, very blessed.

To everyone who has ever come by here I wish you the very merriest of Christmas seasons!  I pray that each of you will be able to spend the holiday season with someone you love.  I’ll soon be here soon with more stories and I hope you will come back to visit.

Merry Christmas



Friday, November 09, 2012

So happy you dropped by for LOL Day

Love our lurker’s day, one of my favorite days of the year.  You can’t know what it means to me to have visitors come by to read one of my stories.  When I see that someone has left a comment I feel as happy as a child with a gift. I know my blog is a bit unusual, but it is what it is, and I am so honored that you come here to read.

I know many of you come by, but don’t leave comments. That’s all right, but I certainly wish you would.  If you did I can answer your comment and let you know how much I appreciate you coming by. When you come by and read I picture you sitting on the deck with Sue, Allie and me sharing a tea party or a glass of wine and a good visit.

I hope you will leave a comment if you come by today.  But whether you do or not, always know that you are welcomed here.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The real me

I found a card that expresses the real me, 
I'm just not sure Tom would approve.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My brother Paul

To the very best brother in the world!

Thank you, Paul for coming into my life. I hope you're having a wonderful birthday.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Flags of Summer

Beautiful summer time!  I am enjoying it so much. Having the children here is such a joy to me.  Allie is heading back to school this week, without Ryan.  I know that is going to be hard on her.  He’s always been there for her.  I’m happy to have him here close to us but I know how much they want to be together, so I’m sure we’ll see her often.

Let me warn you this is a nice mild post telling you some things about our summer – not much on ‘topic’.  That post is coming to be sure, but this post is about a silly idea Tom had this summer.

Ryan has begun his lawn/landscaping business.  Small scale to be sure.  He will only take a small amount of help from us.  He acquired a small business loan.  That boy can truly stretch a dollar.  He stays busy, busy, busy, but he seems happy and I’m enjoying watching him grow his own business from the ground up.

This summer has made me really stop and think of how much my life has changed over the past few years.  During the first few years we were married we lived close to Annie and Sue and some other close friends.  But as the men grew in their careers headhunters came after them and we were all pulled apart, physically if not emotionally. Since they were all in the same line of work we always had meeting and conventions to bring us back in contact and, of course, we often vacationed together.  But twenty year ago, when Tom and I moved back east there were long stretches when I didn’t see the girls that often.  As much as I loved Tom, it was a lonely time for me.

I didn’t do well during that time.  I know I was drinking too much, it was also when I ran into a little problem with prescription drugs, you can imagine how that went over with Tom.  I always had ‘functions’ to attend.  I was friendly with the wives of Tom’s co-workers and the ladies at the church, but no one really close.  We lived in that big old rambling house with few close neighbors.  Tom was really my world and when he wasn’t with me I was lonely. That was one of the reasons blogging was such a joy to me from the beginning!  I had friends to talk to all the time – and they like me for myself, not just because I was Tom’s wife.

It wasn’t long after I began blogging that we moved to the River and life changed completely.  Ryan came often back then, though he didn’t live here.  Next door to us were Kate and Andrew and their wonderful children.  Allie became one of us – as dear to me as Sue and Annie.  Her brother Drew is special too. That adorable 12 year old we met that first day here, that pudgy, little fellow with the shy smile is now sixteen and six foot, four.  Taller than Ryan!  He and Willow are the best of friends and he is her favorite playmate.

About three years ago Sue and Steve, to finally put an end to my nagging, move four houses from us and near that time Ryan moved into their guesthouse, where he still lives. All of these wonderful people have enriched our lives and completely changed mine.

One thing has not changed – I would still rather spend time with Tom than anyone else on the planet. If he would stop working and wanted the two of us to go live in a cave by ourselves – I’d go!  But I don’t see that happening.  And deep down I know it wouldn’t be good for Tom.  Tom needs his work.  He loves it, he loves the contact with his peers, and he loves the intellectual stimulation.  As much as he loves me, he wouldn’t be as happy not working.  He only goes in three days a week so I get him and his attention most of the time.  He needs work like I need my extended friends and family.

Our lives are full! There have been times this summer, however, when Tom feels our lives are a little too full.  Over the years I’ve had to compete with Tom’s career for his attention – but Tom has never had to compete with anything for my attention.  And he still doesn’t, but he occasionally feels that way.  During the day Sue and I are often together at one house or the other with Allie joining us when ever possible. We enjoy spending time at the club where we have made more friends. 

The beautiful weather this summer finds us grilling out more often than not, since our back yards adjoin, we often combine our dinner resources with Kate and Andrew for large meals.  Drew has a new girlfriend and with other neighbor’s stopping by on there evening walks it’s not unusual to have more than a dozen people scattered through the back yard enjoying the weather and the good company.

It hasn’t been unusual this summer for Tom to make his way through the crowd to my side and whisper, “Come watch the sunset with me.”  And we’ll sneak away to the boat and go out alone. Such a peace steals over me at those times.  Tom will anchor the boat in a quiet cove and we sip wine as I lay back against him and watch the sun sink.  Sometimes we talk sometimes we’re just together in the quiet.  It’s as close to heaven as I expect to be in this world.

But one night early this summer Tom wanted to invite everyone over.  He not only invited our ‘family’, he included the whole neighborhood.  After dinner, Tom stood and told everyone he wished to make a toast. 

He began, “I first want to toast to all our guests.  When we first moved here this entire neighborhood came to us and made us feel completely welcomed.  You have given us your time, your help, your support, often your food, and most importantly your friendship. I hope we have given back a small measure of all you have given. I toast you all.”

As I drank, I was looking at Tom curiously. Something was up, he wasn’t just welcoming our guests he was making a speech. But I was in the dark as much as anyone. He went on, “I’d like to make a second toast to the most special person I know.” Tom turned to me, “To my lovely bride.”

He continued, “I have had the privilege of spending the past forty years and more with this extraordinary woman.  I’d take another forty any day, but it seems lately that I need to make an appointment when I want to see her. It seems my girl has turned into the bell of the ball and I can never find her alone.”

Our guest began laughing, but I could tell where he was going and I was quite upset that he was going to insult our guest and chase my friends away.  Unfortunately, no way of stopping him came to mind.  I tried to give him a ‘look’ to convey my message, but he wasn’t taking the hint.

“Therefore, with the help of my son, and my neighbor Andrew here, we have arrived at a workable solution.” With that Tom reached into a tall box near him and pulled out one of those decorative flags.  I have a few holiday ones I put up occasionally on the deck. This one was bright red with a large sailboat in the center – it looked a bit gaudy to me.

“This is my signal flag – this flag flying on our deck means we are perfectly content alone and we need no company.  If you see it, assume that we are otherwise occupied and will not be receiving guest, or even phone calls.” The group was laughing freely by this time, but I was mortified. To me Tom seemed to be announcing that we were getting ready to have mad passionate sex the minute we could get these people out of our yard!  Later that evening Sue helped me realize that in that crowd, with the acceptation of her and Steve and Allie and Ryan, no one would imagine more than a spirited game of scramble or a power nap. Perhaps she was right, unless I gave it away with my blushing.  I suppose looking the part of a sweet, little old southern lady does have its advantages.

But Tom wasn’t finished.  “Cassie and I do love entertaining and we love company.  Anytime the flag is absent we hope you’ll drop by.  I also know that we are not the only ones around here with the same problem.  Therefore, I have a flag for each family here.”  Reaching back in the box Tom pulled out perhaps 20 more flags.  I couldn’t help laughing along with everyone else as all the men surged forward to get one.  Tom finished with, “You’ll notice ours is not flying tonight, so please plan on staying late and enjoying yourselves.”  Walking over to me he gave me a delightful kiss to the cheers of our guests.  As everyone began to mingle again I just shook my head at Tom.  Old devil, he has to control everything – even the neighbors.

Soon Sue and Allie joined me.  “That was embarrassing!” I confided in them.  “He’s going to chase all my friends away.  You two better not stop coming over.”

Allie piped up, “I love it!  You know I’d spend every day over here if I could.  Mom used to fuss all the time when you guys first moved in.  She’d say ‘Leave those poor people alone.  They moved here for peace and quite and they don’t want teenagers around all the time.’  I used to have to fight the urge to come over every time you stepped out into your yard.”

“Even now sometimes I want to come over, but if Tom home I’m always worried I’m interrupting something. Now I’ll know and I’ll pester you all the time the flag’s down.”

“You have never been, and could never be, a pest.” I insisted, although I did remember a time or two that her ‘YOU-HOO’ had come at a less than opportune time.

Sue piped up, “Oh, he doesn’t want it for the wild sex! He just wants to make sure no one walks in on him beating his wife and call the cops on him.”

I just shook my head at her; honestly her word choice often leaves something to be desired.  But then again, I realized her basic sentiment might just be true.  I took a stab at defending my desire ability “Just because that’s the only reason your husband wants to be alone with you doesn’t mean that’s all Tom wants.” I pointed out with a haughty smile.

I must say, giving Tom credit, the flag has worked well this summer. It has not inhibited folks from dropping by when it’s not up and that was my fear.  Tom loves to point out flags up all over the neighborhood as we take our walks.  For the summer he has been treated as the man of the hour.

As for my personal activities this summer, as usual, I’ve been an angel.  Most of my trips over Tom’s knee have been for our mutual enjoyment.  But of course he has been too bossy about a few things – he and Ryan both.  And this unnecessary meddling in my affairs did end up being a problem for both Allie and me.  I’ll tell you about it as soon as I can.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The gift

I was as excited as a child as I tore into the package.  I had racked my brain as to what gift they could have chosen that had obviously filled then with such excitement. Yet I came up with not one idea.

Flipping the lid from the box saw what appeared to be a leather diploma case.  I was certainly happy that my boy was graduating, but I didn’t think that this was the ‘secret’ they had been keeping. 

“Open it.” Ryan said softly.

I did and then stared at it, not understanding.  It was a diploma from the college. But it did not have Ryan’s name on it.  I looked up at Ryan, “I’m confused.”

“I guess so.” He began.  “Let me tell you the story…”

This is what Ryan shared with me.

You know my mom died when I was seven.  I remember some things, but not that much.  After that I was passed around between relativities because my father was gone a lot.  I was treated well by everyone, but I never felt like I belonged anywhere.

I was glad when Dad remarried.  Angie was good to me and I felt like I had a home.  But when the girls came along she didn’t have much extra time and I tried to stay out of the way.  My father was in and out, but we never got close.

When he refused to pay for my college unless I went into his business that was pretty much it.  I didn’t want to have anymore to do with him.  This last couple of years I’ve thought a lot about legally changing my name.  I’m not a junior but, Michael Ryan Reynolds is mostly his name and I didn’t want his name.  I talk to Tom about it, but he kept advising me against it.  I know he was hoping that someday I’d reconcile with my father.

Last Christmas when he hit me I knew we would never reconcile, ever.  I went to a lawyer about changing my name.  I knew I wanted it changed, but I hadn’t decided on exactly what.  Ryan is my mom’s maiden name so I wanted to keep that, of course. But I wanted a full name and I was having a hard time picking out a last name too.  I wasn’t really rushing it.  I still wanted Tom’s approval for the whole idea and he was still hesitant… until Reynolds took you.

After that there was no doubt I wanted away from that name.  But I was so, I don’t know, messed up in my head right then I could barely get through classes, much less decide who I wanted to be.  I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die most of the time. 

But then Tom came to me with a really crazy idea.  I pretty much thought he’d lost his mind and I told him no way.  I thought he was nuts and I was sure you’d never go along with it anyway. He’s persistent though.  He kept calling and trying to convince me.  He’s even driven up here to see me at school several times.  But I kept telling him no. 

But then you had your blow up, Cassie. I don’t know if you remember all you said, but I do, I remember every word.  You talked about your father being a pretty bad guy, but that none of what he did was your fault.  I know that’s what everyone had been trying to tell me, but I think that was the first time I’d felt it.  And you told me again that you loved me, you've told me that before, but you made me believe it in a way I've never believed before.   That was the night I changed my mind. I called Tom Sunday afternoon so we could talk one more time, just to make sure he hadn’t changed his. He hadn’t. 

We’ve been busy this week, Tom had to call in a few favors to get everything done so fast, but it’s pretty much a done deal.  That is, of course, if you really want to go through with it.

Ryan stopped and looked at Tom.  Maybe I’m just a little slow on the uptake these days, but I still didn’t know what was going on.  I turned to Tom, still confused.

He reached over and took my hand.  “Cassie, if you’re willing, and I know you are, we have an appointment with our lawyer in the morning.  Once we sign a few papers, Ryan will be our legally adopted son.

I sat absolutely still. Had I heard right? Our son, really and truly, not just in my fantasies? I had no words.

I heard Tom say to Ryan, “Two milestones today son, you graduated and Cassie’s speechless.”

I reached out to touch Ryan’s face, I felt the stubble of the ‘not quite shaven’ look he like to wear, as it began to penetrate my brain that all my wishing and daydreaming about Ryan really being ours had come true. 

I just stared at him until Sue broke the spell.  Grinning from ear to ear she she called out, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” 

Oh my, the hugging that went on then!  I think I hugged everyone in the room several times.  Finally coming around to Tom, who had been contently watching me. I realized that he had brought this all about. Who could be more wonderful than this man?  He has given me everything in the world, including a son.

Gathering ourselves up and drying our tears we all headed to the reception.  I wish I could describe the jolt that went through my body when Ryan would said, “I’d like you to meet my parents, Cassie and Tom Duff.”  It was a day like no other.

Late, late that night I crawled in bed next to my wonderful husband.  We had said it all and I lay content within his arms.  The diploma case was propped open on my night table. As I reached to turn off my lamp I couldn’t resist once again running my hand over the embossed lettering.

Thomas Ryan Duff

Our son.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cassie, the angel

I’m so sorry to have been away for so long. I was just reading back over the comments to my last post and had to laugh. I read them to Tom and he was highly amused also.

“When they commend you for doing what you were told to do, do they realize I hadn’t given you any choice? Even back then I was pretty sure even you weren’t going to head out stark naked.”

I got to thinking about how my readers must view me. You all think I stay in trouble all the time. I think you believe I never listen to my sweet husband and constantly do whatever I want to do. Now let’s just look at this based on facts. I have to date 381 posts. Not all of those post and been about me getting in trouble, but for the sake of argument let’s say that they all were. If each post represents one day I got in trouble, then let’s say all the rest of the time I was good as gold. That would mean that, for all you know, I’ve been an angel for 38.9 of the past 40 some years!

So, is anyone buying this so far? LOL! But I do want you all to know that there are long stretches in our lives where the only spankings I get are the loving, fun ones. But seriously, how many of you come here to read how well behaved and angelic I can be? I know the real reason you all come here is to marvel at how unreasonable Tom can be about the most ordinary events.

I do have more stories that I think you might enjoy. As time permits I'll get them typed up and I promise to share them with you.

Now a word about word verification - I despise it! I had had it off for a long time and then I began getting more and more spam so I put it back on just before they changed it to where no one can read it! Ronnie was kind enough to let me know that you only have to type one of the two words and not both. I can usually read one of them. For now I’m taking it off again. If there is one thing I really want it’s to hear from anyone who is kind enough to want to leave me a comment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Afternoon talk

We certainly have gotten full use of our island home since September. We were here for a week or more after I found it was ours. Tom and Steve made arrangements to totally redo the caretaker’s house. Tia and Carl were bursting at the seams with their large family. We put them in the guest houses while the work was being done during October. This was also the beautiful spot Tom whisked me off to when I was planning Nancy’s demise and how to make it look like an accident.

Christmas and New Years were a swirl of wonderful events, but I was exhausted. Finally one day, not long after New Year’s, we girls found an afternoon to just sit and relax. The men had gone golfing and Allie, Annie, Sue and I gathered peacefully around the pool. I felt so content. These friends are those I love the most. I have no secrets from them and there is no pretense when we talk. There is nothing to hide. It does me good to be with them.

That afternoon we were sipping wine (those of us over 21) and basking in the beauty of our surroundings. Allie stretched catlike then turning to me said, “I hope you don’t mind Cassie but I’ve decided I’m never leaving. I'll try not to be in the way.”

“You won’t be in my way,” I laughed, “but don’t you have a college degree to finish?”

“Ugg,..” she said with feeling. “Don’t remind me. I don’t even what to think of getting back in that grind.” She took a deep sigh, “I did something so stupid this year. I think I should have ‘idiot’ tattooed on my forehead.”

I cast her a withering look. She gave me a quick smile and said, “Sorry, sorry! I know I’m not supposed to mentions tattoos to you!”

“So what did you do that was so stupid?” Sue asked her.

Allie shook her head, “I really blew it. I ask Ryan to help me get things done on time and not get so stress like I did last year and I even agreed to let him spank me when I don’t keep to the schedule.”

“You did WHAT?” Sue and I shouted in unison. Sue looked disgusted, “Go ahead and get that tattoo.” She told her, “You deserve it.”

“Oh honey,” I told her, “you never ask for help getting over a bad habit. They’re on it like a dog with a bone. They never let up.”

"Wait, you told me Tom helped you overcome tons of bad habits. You said you used to cuss like a sailor before Tom helped you.”

“But Allie, I never asked him to! Breaking some of my habits that he didn’t like was his idea, not mine. I only ask him to help me break my gambling habit, and that request came back to bite me in the ass! Forgive my language.” I laughed.

“Well let’s hear it.” Sue insisted. “What torture has your Tom-clone been putting you through?”

Allie sighed. “You see last year I was driving myself crazy. Ryan too part of the time, but he really kept his cool. I usually got everything done but I was always in a panic. Every time something was due I was up until three or four the night before trying to pull everything together. I’d run out of paper or the printer cartridge would be empty or something. Sometimes I couldn’t get it done and lost credit for late stuff. I’d be tired and surly the next day and before you could turn around the next things was due. Ryan had as many paper and junk to do as I did, but he never seemed flustered or rushed and so dummy me asked for help.”

“Well, what’s his secret?” Annie asked. “Has it worked?”

“I guess it did help.” Allie grudgingly admitted. “It’s pretty simple really. He just took all my due dates on each syllabus and moved them up by four days. If it’s due in class on the 4th I have to have it 100% complete and in Ryan’s hands by 9:00 pm on the 1st.”

“We were discussing this in bed. I think that was one of my problems." Allie admitted. "I was feeling pretty much agreeable to anything at the time. I was just mentioning that I wished I was as organized as him. He might have been the one who offered to help. I know for sure he was the one who suggested spanking as a way to back it up.”

“Entrapment! I knew it.” Snarled Sue.

Allie laughed. “I think you’re probably right, but whatever it was, I agreed.”

“Oh Allie, the same thing happened to me. We had a conversation before we were married where Tom swears he explained exactly how our marriage was going to be an old fashion one and if he ever thought I needed a spanking he was going to give me one. I wasn’t paying any attention! I was trying to get his clothes off. I’ve always said that my answers of ‘yay, yay sure’ should not have been binding!”

“So tell us,” Annie probed, “Did you get spanked or did you get things turned in on time.”

“I guess about what you would suspect.” Allie told us with a grin. “I did a lot better. If I didn’t have it by nine the day Ryan said, he just spanked me with his hand, and actually I’m surprised at how much that can hurt. But if I didn’t have it by the next night at nine he was getting more serious. He’d use that awful rubber spatula/scraper or whatever it is from the kitchen. That stupid thing is red and I think he tries to make my butt match.”

“And if you don’t have it the third day? I probed.

Allie’s look turned sour. “That stupid brush!”

I had been afraid of that. “Oh honey, I’m sorry. They always seem to know the worst one.”

“Well we didn’t get there but once. But I was so mad. I mean I’d been spanked the two day before for not having it so I was getting mad at Ryan. And then I was mad at myself too because the only reason it wasn’t done is just that it was a stupid project and I didn’t want to work on it at all.

“Ryan called me at eight that last night. First thing he asked was, ‘Is it done?’ I was so mad I told him, no, the damn things not done. It’s stupid, I’m not doing it and you can’t make me. Then I hung up on him.”

Annie and I stared at her in horror as Sue snorted, quoting Dr. Phil “And how did that work for you?” she chuckled.

“Not so well.” she admitted ruefully. We sat back to hear the rests of the story she had to tell.

He didn’t call back but at nine, the deadline, he was at my door. I knew I was safe on the hall, too many people. He looked over what I had. I showed him it would only take a couple of hours to finish.

He said that sounded good but he needed me to come back to his condo for about a half hour. I knew what that meant and I told him I didn’t have time. My roommate was looking at him funny because she knows he’s always the one pushing me to get things finished and now he wanted me to go somewhere with him before it was done.

I told him, “Honey it’s just going to have to wait until tomorrow. I’ve got to get this finished.”

He looked me right in the eye and said “It has to be taken care of tonight. I guess I can take care of it here if you’d rather.”

Well then I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! But by the time we got to his place I was pretty mad. “If you had just let me alone I’d be done with the damn thing by now!”

He walked into the bedroom and got the brush. When he came out he told me, “I’m not going to take anymore attitude or any more cussing tonight. You had plenty of time to get that thing done and you just wouldn’t. You knew it was coming to thing and you still didn’t do it. Now do you need some time in the corner to calm down?”

I was mad. It’s bad enough to be spanked but it really embarrasses me for him to mention the corner. “I don’t need the corner,” I snapped.

All I got was a terse “Fine.” And I was over his knee. He didn’t even do a warm up! He was in full lecture mode. Time management, thinking ahead, the evils of procrastination, and ended with, “You’re right I can’t make you do it but I can hold you to the bargain you made and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

It was a pretty rough evening. I hadn’t been spanked that hard in a long time. I don’t know if it was for not getting finished or for how I’d talked to him, but it sure was thorough. When he was done he just gave me a quick hug and drove me back to the dorm. He didn’t mention the project as he dropped me off; he just said “I love you.”

“I finished it that night.” Allie told us, concluding her story. “I never let anything run that late again.” Allie sighed deeply but then added with a little sparkle in her eye, “But I did check my grades on line this morning, B in Chemistry and an A in everything else!”

We all gave her a shout and our sincere congratulations. I couldn’t help asking “Are you going to tell Ryan how well you did? He may try to take all the credit you know.”

Allie laughed, “I might as well. I already agreed to do it again this next semester.”

Annie and I laughed as Sue shook her head in disgust. “If Steve had a hairbrush I wouldn’t agree to a damn thing!” she insisted.

It had been a lovely afternoon. I know Tom and I brought great changes into Allie’s life, although it was never our intentions, when we moved in beside her family 4 years ago. I worry about it sometimes, but Allie seems happy with how things are going so I usually take a deep breath and keep my fingers crossed.

I’ve been in more of a writing mood lately. I’ll try not to be so long between post.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Birthday surprise

This story started back here.

The next morning I woke happy and content, but I had barely had time to stretch before Tom had pulled me across his lap and proceeded to warm my bottom in a rapid manner. “What are you doing?” I growled at him.

“As long as we’ve been together and you don’t know what I’m doing? I must need practice.” He insisted and he increased the pace. “I was just thinking that Sue will be here in about 4 hours. I thought I’d get a head start.”

I squirmed off his lap and Tom let me go laughing. I grabbed my robe with as much dignity as I could muster at the moment, headed to the bath room and slammed the door soundly. I could still hear Tom laughing and I had to smile. Old devil, he does knows us well.

I was so happy to see everyone and show them around. They all seemed very impressed with our accommodations. We spent time on the beach and in the ocean. Ryan, Allie and Drew rented the Jet Ski. We ladies biked around the little town and did some shopping. I was a good as gold and it wasn’t hard since surrounded by all the people I love the most.

At dinner that evening Tia out did herself, everything was delicious. The wine had been flowing freely since afternoon. We were telling old stories and laughing so hard most of us were in tears. I’ve been through a lot with these people. Tom was as relax and happy as I’ve ever seen him.

Dinner was over and we were all out by the pool when I saw Tom and Steve in a deep conversation. I didn’t pay much attention, but I noticed as they slipped into the house together. Shortly they returned and Tom came to stand by me clearly looking like he had something to say. Gradually everyone turned to look at him as he began.

“As you know we are all here to celebrate Cassie’s birthday.”

I rolled my eyes, “Just don’t anyone say which one!” I insisted.

Tom went on. “I think you will all agree that Cassie can be somewhat difficult to buy for.” Everyone laughed and nodded. “But I think I’ve found a little something she might like.” Tom had pulled a small box from his pocket.

“Tom told me what he was getting.” Steve spoke up. “I was pretty sure Cassie would like it and all I could think of was how much Sue was going to whine and carry on because she hadn’t gotten the same thing. You all know how she can be.” We all looked at Sue and laughed as she decided whether to be indignant or amused. As we laughed Steve pulled a box from his pocket that matched the one Tom was holding.

I admit the boys had my attention. Tom is a wonderful gift giver, but Sue and me receiving the same gift? That seemed a little strange. I mean we’re a bit old for matching bracelets. Steve walked over to Sue as Tom stood in front of me and offered the little box. I gave him a quizzical look before taking it and slipping off the top. Inside nestled in cotton was a key, to what I had no idea. Glancing at Sue I saw her holding a key also. The first thing that crossed my mind was that the boys had gotten us each a jet ski but that didn’t seem right somehow and it wasn’t the right kind of key. I looked at Tom questioningly.

“Honey,” Tom began, “it‘s yours together. You and Sue are now the proud owners of this house and all that goes with it.” I felt like I’d been hit with an electric current. I stared at Tom unable to speak. This house, this magnificent home that I had been marveling over for days was mine? Mine and Sue’s? As the news sank in I burst into tears and grabbed Tom. Tom has surprised me many, many times in our marriage but none more than this. The house with two master wings, what could be more perfect? Once again Tom had managed to outdo himself when it came to birthday gifts. Looking over at Sue I saw she was blubbering like a baby, not something I’ve seen many times in my life.

Now you can see what has been occupying my time over the last few months. We’ve come to the Island several times since then. This was where Tom whisked me off to when I was so outraged over Nancy. Sue and Steve have been here several times on their own and some with us. I suppose not every friendship could survive owning a home together but I don’t anticipate any problems. We’ve vacationed together and shared vacation homes for the past 40 years.

We were home for Christmas this year but back down here for New Years. That was a wonderful time. Annie and Andy came also as well as Allie and Ryan. The children were off until the middle of January so we had them to ourselves for a while. For the most part Sue and I have managed to behave ourselves – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Allie, however, did share some of her less brilliant moments over the past few months. I’ll be sharing those with you soon.