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.