Paying to Wave

waving goodbyThe poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) set out to travel by boat from England to America.  Everyone on deck had someone there to see him or her off—everyone except him.  Rupert Brooke felt lonely, terribly lonely.  Watching the hugging and the kissing and good-byes, he wished he had someone to miss him.

The poet saw a youngster and asked his name.

“William,” the boy answered.

“William,” he asked, “would you like to earn a few shillings?”

“Sure, I would!  What would I have to do?”

“Just wave to me as I leave,” the lonely man instructed.

It is said that money can’t buy love, but for six shillings young William waved to Rupert Brooke as the boat pulled out.  The poet writes, “Some people smiled and some cried, some waved white handkerchiefs and some waved straw hats.  And I? I had William, who waved at me with his red bandana for six shillings and kept me from feeling completely alone.”

My Speedster Mother-in-law

My wife has a very heavy foot when she drives but it’s a genetic problem. Her mother has a family reputation for speeding.

Over the years, my mother-in-law never seemed to remember that patrol cars lie in wait on county roads as well as interstates. She was often stopped en route to take her invalid father to the doctor. She would tell the officer her sad, sad story—how sick her dad was and how they were running late for their doctor’s appointment because she’d had such a hard time getting him into the car—and he’d buy into it and let her go.

Mrs. Bradley kept count of how many times she was stopped for speeding, and took pride in the fact that she never got a ticket. In fact, our son is her oldest grandchild, and on his 18th birthday, she, hurrying to his party, was stopped for the 18th time. She couldn’t wait to tell it at the party, because she thought it was quite the coincidence!  Of course the officer let her go because she told him she was late for her grandson’s birthday party.

Finally, after she’d been stopped an even 25 times, she decided it was time she paid her dues. She never denies that she’d been speeding, you understand—she’s just good at talking her way out of situations. So she resolved that the next time she was stopped, she’d take her medicine without a word.

It didn’t take long. Upon hearing the siren and seeing the flashing lights, she calmly pulled over to the side of the road and got out her driver’s license. The officer came to her window and she started pushing buttons to get it down. She pushed and punched and nothing happened. She threw up both hands in disgust.

“This is a new car, and I have no idea how to get the window down!” She shouted to the policeman. She opened the door and he started examining the buttons on the door, finally figuring out how to lower the window.

He showed her how to operate the windows, and then gently said, “Now Mrs. Bradley, I can see this is a new car and you just aren’t familiar with it yet. You were speeding, but it’s understandable, so I’m not going to give you a ticket this time. You just be careful now, you hear?”  And he let her go. Even when she thought it was time to pay for her excessive speed, she got a pass.