Friday, June 28, 2013

The End of the Matter

                It was late afternoon and I was sitting in the solarium looking out over the garden.  A light drizzle was falling from the sky and a fine mist was glistening on the garden flowers and foliage.  The afternoon sun slanted through the edge of the clouds casting fingers of liquid light and illuminating a patch of flowers here and there throughout the garden.  I have always loved afternoons like this and we have far too few of them in the Dallas area and I treasure every one of them.  I was enjoying a small glass of Pouilly-Fume, that dry white wine, when I heard voices from somewhere in the house.

            Agnes our Scottish housekeeper had answered the door, “Oh Mr. Horace, how good to see you.  Colonel Montrose? To be sure, he’s in the solarium.  You can go right on through.”

            A minute later Horace arrived in the solarium followed by Agnes, who, clever lady, was carrying an extra heavy cut crystal wine glass for our guest.

            “Horace, welcome.  What bring you around this afternoon?”

            Horace took the offered glass of Pouilly-Fume gratefully and sat down opposite me, took a sip, then answered, “I’m not sure how to ask this, but I think I really would like to know.”

            “What is it?” I said, curiosity nipping at my heels.

            “Well,” he said, “You know my Aston Martin Lagonda was rear-ended and the other driver tried to claim on my insurance?  At our bible study Angelo had offered to ‘fix’ the problem and I said ‘No.’ My insurance agent called this morning and said the claim had mysteriously been dropped.       Do you know if Angelo fixed it?  It would be embarrassing if he had.”

            I thought for a moment before replying, “If Angelo was doing you a favour and expected you to do a favour for him in return, he would have let you know.  It’s like a contract in a funny sort of way.  As it is Angelo didn’t say anything, so I wouldn’t worry about it.  If it was Angelo, he would be embarrassed if you challenged him.  By the way, I followed up with Angelo because I was concerned about what he was going to do with the lupara.  An Sicilian shot gun isn’t really a toy.”

            Angelo had laughed and said, “Nothing you need worry about.  My father had it mounted on a marble plaque with grandfather’s name and dates.  It’s hanging on the wall above his fireplace.”

            We sat there for a few moments savouring the unusual flavour of the Pouilly-Fume, before Horace said, “Sometimes we just worry too much about what others might do with what we give them.  One of the lessons I’m still trying to learn is letting go of my own tendency to control.  It’s one thing in business where some things really need to be controlled, but it doesn’t work very well with family and friends.”

            “You are quite right Horace,” said I.  “I would be an absolute goose if I thought I could control Mother.  That’s one place where the only options are surrender or negotiation.”

            Horace laughed, “So right you are.  It’s the same with Grace.  Both of us fell in love with strong minded women; that’s why we love them.  And come to think of it even in business, wise negotiation becomes extremely important, especially where surrender isn’t an option.”

 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” - Proverbs 3:5-7   

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