Whom to trust?

We met Fran a couple of years ago when we petted her blue heeler, Sheila. Seeing that we liked dogs and were good with her dog, Fran asked if we would babysit Sheila on Tuesday nights when she (Fran, not Sheila) went bowling. We said yes with no thought that she would pay us, but when she picked Sheila up the first night and handed me a $20 bill, I took it because I’m just that way. (You might want to jot down the fact that it would be a mistake to offer me money as a gesture based upon the assumption that I’ll refuse it, e.g. “Thanks for the doughnut; here’s a thousand dollars.”) Fran has since retired from her job, so we don’t see her or Sheila much anymore except by accident, but when she wrote several weeks ago to ask if we would keep Sheila for three days, we said yes. She offered us $150, but, as with keeping Sheila on bowling nights, we would have done it for nothing.

So, here I sit with Fran’s cow dog nudging me for a cuddle and her (
Fran’s, not Sheila’s) Honda Element in the driveway. I’ve had sex with people who didn’t trust me that much. I don’t know how I could have ever been so stupid, but I assumed that if a woman made love to me, it meant that she trusted me, but when a couple moves in together, it’s not the sharing of sex or the professions of eternal devotion that represent the ultimate in confidence, but the putting of the other person’s name on your bank account, especially if there’s anything in it.

When Peggy and I were married, I doubt that we had $3,000 between us, so sharing a bank account didn’t seem like a big deal, but now that we have enough money to keep us “comfortable” for the rest of our lives, I can’t imagine putting another woman’s name on my accounts. This brings to mind the fact that I’m growing older and there might come a day when I will need someone other than Peggy to handle my financial affairs. I think that what I might do would be to ask my friend, Lee, to take charge. He’s the father of my grand-daughter, but I have no blood relationship with him or his wife, Robin, which means that I haven’t known them for years and years (about 6-8 years). I have observed them, and they’ve consistently impressed me as being people of integrity. One of the things they did that got my attention happened last year when we were shopping for baby clothes a short time after Sidney started walking well enough that she was no longer prone to doing face plants. Lee warned me not to put her down, but I wanted her to have a good time—especially since she was with her remarkably adorable Grandpa—so I did.

She immediately began to shop like her father, mother, and grandmother, only at a hundred times the speed as she ran through the store pulling clothes off the racks and carrying them with her (whenever she got too many to carry, I returned the excess). It was just her and me since everyone else was involved with the real shopping, and we had  a grand time. When Lee and Robin were ready to go, Robin asked Lee if they should pay for the clothes that Sidney had been carrying around the store, and Lee said that, no, they hadn’t been soiled, so there was no reason to buy them. That Robin broached the subject and Lee took it seriously made quite an impression on me. Never once have I seen them show less than total integrity, and this makes them more like Peggy than like I because while it is in my heart to show unblemished integrity where my friends are concerned, how I treat others is dependent upon how they treat me.

You might wonder if I don’t have any blood kin whom I would trust with my money. I don’t have much in the way of family. There’s a half brother whom I don’t know, a half sister who is a good bit older than I, and a full sister whom I wouldn’t trust with pocket change. Peggy has many relatives, but they’re all on the other side of the country, and they’re either getting old, or I don’t trust them, or I don’t know them well enough to trust them. Even so, the sad fact of life is that we all have to trust someone. I say sad because if I could be eternally competent to do everything for myself, I would greatly prefer it, but sickness, accident, and aging, have taught me that, sooner or later, we all have to make ourselves vulnerable to other people.


lotta joy said...

You are lucky to know a couple, or even one person, like Lee. I wonder if they'll agree if you ask them. I imagine they would hesitate due to never wanting anyone to question their integrity with your money. But that would be their only pause.

People think I'm joking when I say that after I'm just ashes in a vase, if my daughter likes the vase - I'll be scattered along I-75 so the vase can hold flowers. If she doesnt' like the vase, we'll be rolling down the ditch with abandoned Coke cans.

Snowbrush said...

“I imagine they would hesitate due to never wanting anyone to question their integrity with your money. But that would be their only pause.”

It would be a lot of work for them to take on such a responsibility, and it would have to be set-up so that they weren’t hit with taxes, and this means that we might need a power of attorney rather than a co-ownership. I don’t anticipate needing any such an arrangement anytime soon, and I should think that whether they would do it or not when I (or Peggy) did need it would depend upon how close we were.

Snowbrush said...

“…if my daughter likes the vase - I'll be scattered along I-75 so the vase can hold flowers. If she doesnt' like the vase, we'll be rolling down the ditch”

I kept my father in the hall closet in a cardboard box for several years while I decided what to do with him (he’s in the Pacific). Peggy’s mother was outraged that I didn’t have him in a proper urn, but Dad wouldn’t have wanted such a thing, and I wouldn’t either. However, if Peggy should decide that she wanted one for me, I had just as soon she find something at Goodwill as to pay big bucks to a funeral home.

Stephen Hayes said...

It's a sad fact of life that we need to deal with these issues of mortality. I recently had to fill out a form designating what would happen if my wife predeceased me. It was a shocking thought.

Elephant's Child said...

Integrity is rare. And precious.
Robin and Lee sound like awe-inspiring people.
Trust is somethng I find difficult too. Very, very difficult.

R. T. said...

Indiscriminately and completely trusting only a few other people was once my Achilles' heel. Now that I am officially in the curmudgeonly old codger club, I trust more wisely and rarely, and less completely. Ah, it is tough being an old cynic on an otherwise warm and friendly planet.(Note: my recent creative nonfiction posting at Beyond Eastrod may go a long way to explaining my long descent into cynicism.)

kylie said...

thats impressive! i never would have considered paying for the clothing! though i might have it had been rendered unsuitable for sale.

when i was first married we rented a place from my parents' next door neighbour, it had been her sisters place and was fully furnished. I found $19 000 in a wardrobe and gave her every last dollar. When she wanted someone to look after money for her she gave $200 000 to her favourite doctor. Never saw it again.

After that I wished I had kept the money I found.

rhymeswithplague said...

I am across the country too, but you can trust me. I would handle your money with great scrupulosity (if there is such a word). Of course, there is the fact to consider that I am already older than you and likely to be dead by the time you need me, and also the fact that if I am not (already dead) I would undoubtedly be tempted to tithe.

Charles Gramlich said...

vulnerability is hard. Another unpleasant thing about aging.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Ah... a subject I've thought much about as someone growing old in this world all alone. No easy answers for me...

PhilipH said...

Trust me I'm a doctor. Well, as one ages, it is necessary to trust such professionals. I do. Have no option really.

My trusting is unavoidable.

Linda said...

I can imagine how distraught the shop owners and sales people must have been to see a toddler racing through the store, removing and dragging around the merchandise. The child could have knocked an older person down or even plowed down another child. There are reasons why a parent tells a person not to put a little child down.

You and the child were not there to "have fun" or run in the store.

I must say this post is more shocking to me than your post on your views on sex and open marriage. I can more accept those concepts than this.

This story does not tell me they are trustworthy at all. If I saw all this happen, I would think they could not be trusted to do the right thing(control child) and make good choices.


Snowbrush said...

“I can imagine how distraught the shop owners and sales people must have been to see a toddler racing through the store, removing and dragging around the merchandise. The child could have knocked an older person down or even plowed down another child.”

No one believes in respectful behavior more than I, or views out-of-control children with a more jaundiced eye. However, you don’t represent the situation as I experienced it, although I can see how you might have taken my description in the way that you did. The fact is that she could only carry a very few things, and that I put the rest of them back exactly where they came from. Also, I was with her every second; nothing was drug along the floor; the store wasn’t crowded; the salespeople weren’t giving me hostile looks; I was the only “old person” she might have knocked over; and she and the few other children only examined one another in the frank and curious way that children always examine one another. As I see it, there is niceness, respect, decorum, politeness, and then there is excessive and neurotic concern for the same. Peggy grew up being told that, in company, she had to remain quiet, sit with her legs crossed at the ankles and hold her hands in her lap. She couldn’t play, couldn’t get dirty, and so on and so on. For me to do other than I did would have been to treat Sidney as Peggy was treated, and it took Peggy decades to overcome the inhibitions that were instilled in her. I make no apology because no apology is needed. Everything within me is in the direction of being the best Grandpa to Sidney that I can be.

kylie said...

snow, what you just said to linda gives me the most beautiful picture of you and Sidney. Love that child with all your heart and with all your logic and you will never go wrong!

possum said...

Bravo, Snow!
Excellent control… I am proud of you.
I really think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat children and animals, and especially when the kids or critters aren’t theirs. In fact, just reading the responses to your post tells me who I would want handling my affairs or not. Or even who I would want as a neighbor!

It is difficult to find someone to handle one’s business. We have all seen too often the cherished son or niece who took over the purse strings and screwed the poor old person out of every cent. I am leaving most of my money to a Conservancy. Don’t care where my ashes get dumped either. Sprinkle them around my camellias! How amusing to be fertilizer when I am done with this body! Especially for those who always said I was full of, well, never mind.

Enjoy that Cherub - and non illigitimi carborundum.

Snowbrush said...

Thank you, Kylie, and thank you, Possum. After the intensity of the responses to my next post, it's wonderful to come here and find something happy. Possum, I don’t know if, by conservancy, you mean the Nature Conservancy, but I’ll mention that I looked into it (through websites that track charities) and found that their expenses are rather high, which means that a goodly part of their money is either going to salaries or to getting new members. I would anticipate leaving most of mine to the Freedom from Religion Foundation and much of the rest to organizations devoted to the protection of nature.