Is it August

“It’s all wrong” Sheila yelled at John “Did you even look at it before you picked it up?”

John had just got done shoveling the 6 inches of snow off the driveway when his wife came home. Coming back from the engravers, John decided to surprise his wife and put the present on the counter top.

“What are you talking about?” He said as he picked up the candy dish 

There it was right before his eyes engraved on the bottom Ausust 15 2002

Engravers should know how to spell August he thought, maybe it should be a prerequisite. This clearly wasn’t August on the bottom of the dish, maybe if your eyes were bad that s could look like g, but again this was an engraver, engraving words not a second grader doing a school project

“I’ll have them redo it tomorrow” John said as he put the candy dish back in the cardboard box.

Sheila just shook her head and started to make dinner.

“The Engraver Place” was 15 minutes from home. 

“Can I help you” the middle aged man came out to the counter.

After explaining he was already in their store not more than a few hours ago, John got the candy dish out from the box.

“I was just in here and picked up this candy dish” John reached into his small paper bag

“I just need August 15 1985 engraved right here” John pointed to the exact place on the bottom of the candy dish. “As you can see, this says Ausust, that’s not what I wanted!”

“I’ll be darned, how’d that happen” The middle aged man said “Will have to talk to the engraver… sorry” The man took down the information he needed, looked it up on the computer and said “we’ll have it for you tomorrow” John, leaving the store, thought to himself and saying out loud to himself “That probably was the engraver”. “Nobody wants to take responsibility anymore” as he chuckled.

It was December 21 maybe a little late for buying presents and the days were flying by. The candy dish was going to be a Christmas present for friends they had known for 20 years. It was a running tradition that every year they would get something different to celebrate the time they met friends in a marriage counselor group. They had gotten to know each other so well during that time they decided not to go to counseling anymore and just meet with each other instead. Debbie and James had become their closest friends. The first time they met was August 15, 2002.

Days were still getting shorter this time of year and John always got nostalgic remembering Christmas from a few years ago when his mother had just died.  He always felt guilty thinking that his mom died a few hours sooner than she should have, and the hospice nurse had made an “in home” visit just before her passing.

Although there were 5 siblings with him watching his mom it was somehow determined that it was up to John to administer the pain medication. “When you see your mom start to frown” she would say “that means she is in pain, when that happens just put a little morphine on her lips.”

John spent the next 3 hours watching his mom in the living room on the hospital bed. Morphine close by if needed. His mom would open her eyes and look around occasionally, as she was drifting off into her eternal rest. She looked peaceful, with her eyes closed, almost as if she was dreaming at times. Still breathing shallow breaths but peaceful. Then came that look on her face that the hospice nurse said she would have. It was a definite frown.

Because of religious reasons his mom had said she didn’t want any pain medication at the end of her life.  “Hospice nurses have pain medication though, so why would we have a hospice nurse if we didn’t do what she said?” John questioned himself.

John put the little drop of morphine on her lips and to his surprise he saw his mom open her eyes and look at him. She shook her head and he could swear he saw her lips move saying “you shouldn’t have done that”. Within 10 minutes she breathed her last breath. He always thought he had killed her in some way by giving her that morphine. That was 3 weeks before Christmas, a Christmas he would not forget. His mom had been gone 5 years now, hoping his mom was looking down on him and forging him by now. 

Things were a lot less dramatic this Christmas. Sheila and he were getting along well and they had made new friends since they moved to their new neighborhood. They had both quit drinking and had joined a church with a great pastor.

It was 2 days later he got a call from the engraver that the candy dish was ready and he could pick it up.

The roads were a little slick from the 6 inch snow storm making the usual 15 minute trip more like 30.

The middle aged man saw John coming and appeared from the back room shortly after John arrived.

The dish came in a brown paper wrapping. No need to pay for the re-engraving so John took the dish from the man, as he said “here you go”

“Thanks” he said as he began to walk out. Thinking back on the last visit though, he decided to have a close look at his dish. After unwrapping he saw Augsust 15 2002. Unbelievable!

Turning back to the man he said” It’s still wrong, look!” John pointed to the Augsust.

They had put the g in alright, but they forgot to take out the s. “That not what I wanted!” he said.

Christmas was now only 3 days away.

“Will have it back to you tomorrow “, the man said “Even if we have to work on it all night”

December 23 was another blistery, windy day but the sun came out. It was one of those days that looked warm. You would get a shock when you stepped outside into the 20 below wind chill. Having a remote start on his car, would make John’s car warmer before he got in, but the walk to the SUV was still treacherously icy.

“Be back in a few minutes” he called to Sheila as he left.

 And final instructions from Sheila. “Make sure they get it right this time”

The bright sunlight reflecting off of the snow made driving hazardous and on the way to the engravers he saw 2 accidents. Not wanting to be another accident he slowed down to thirty-five, then to twenty-five. A car in front of him slid into the ditch just missing him. He saw a salt truck but then he recalled he heard someone say that salt trucks didn’t do much good when the weather was this cold. Up ahead was a traffic light, this is where his ability to judge stopping distances came in handy.

The light was green, then yellow. Too slippery to stop, “Oh what the hell I’ll keep going, no one will give me a ticket in this weather” he said to himself. The light was definitely red as he went cruising through it. A quarter mile down the road he heard the familiar woop woop then he saw it a police car behind him flashing the red and blue lights

After a $200 ticket for running a red light because the cop was sitting at the light and he had cars on either side of him and he “just had to give him a ticket because what would the other people think, if he didn’t pull him over”.

Shaken up, John arrived at “The Engraver Place and once again was greeted by the same graying middle aged man. He recognized John and disappeared to the back room on his arrival. While John gazed around. In metal tags hanging from the wall he could see engraved such thing as  50th Anniversary, Congratulations, Baby Boy and various names. “Not one mistake among them” he thought

“Here you go, I think we got it right this time” the middle-aged man said as he handed John the candy dish

John looked down and there it was on the candy dish, it read August 15 2002

He turned to the man and exclaimed “Thank you, it’s just what I wanted!”

November 25, 2022 14:43

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Wendy Kaminski
05:34 Nov 27, 2022

This was sreat! :)


Gregory Day
22:02 Nov 27, 2022

Not sure what sreat! is, but it sounds good. Thanks


Wendy Kaminski
22:04 Nov 27, 2022

(Was your engraver saying "Great"! ;)


Gregory Day
03:11 Nov 28, 2022

Sot it. I think


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