There are stories I tell that are for everybody and there are those I tell out of earshot of certain people.

There are stories I tell that are for everybody and there are those I tell out of earshot of certain people.  Therefore, I’m only telling this one to folks in the Deep South where I’m sure my wife won’t find out back in Virginia.  You might ask why I would do that.

Because I think it’s a pretty good one (but I also fear retaliation from my wife).

Recently, my wife celebrated a special birthday (her 50th) and like most men, I was pondering on what to get her.  Women say they “don’t want anything” or “don’t spend too much,” and it puts you in a bind.  It puts you in a worse bind when your wife is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the household.  She’s very good at it.

Well, I had to start somewhere.  My oldest daughter is in college and good at picking things out, so I told her to think about it.  Never send a 20 year-old girl out to shop for your wife’s birthday present.  They have not yet realized how long it actually takes to make enough money to pay for “nice things.”

To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was with her.  That makes for a “double whammy.”

I get the call at work that my daughter has found “the perfect gift” and she starts in on asking me exactly how much I want to spend.  I asked her, “Well, how much is it?”  She said what every man (at least me) cringes when he hears.  She said, “It depends on how many carats.”


She was talking about diamond earrings that of course “would be perfect.”  I could hear a voice in the background saying, “It is a special birthday.”  I’m pretty sure it was my mother-in-law.  My daughter listed the number of carats, along with the price tag on each.  She wasn’t at the WalMart.

After discussing it with her for a little while, I told her I would check my budget.  That of course meant I had to check with my CFO (the birthday girl) on what I could spend.

My wife is practical, she really is.  When she heard the amount, of course she made the executive decision that granite counter tops, a new dishwasher, refrigerator and a gas range would be a better use for a large sum of money.  The earrings didn’t cost as much as all that, but they were expensive (or “exspounsive” as they say).

I was in a bind.

The next day, I explained my predicament to my daughter.  She said she would think about it (which meant she would talk to her grandmother – my mother-in-law).

She called me back.

My daughter suggested that I get earrings that were less expensive (loops with crushed diamonds or something instead of big ones that hadn’t been crushed up). She also said I needed to make a move on a gas range.  Knowing that I couldn’t get a gas range installed in a few days (because there are no gas lines to my house), she suggested I at least note the gas people were coming to run gas to the house.

This seemed reasonable.

After talking to the gas company and pricing getting gas into the house, along with a gas range, the biggest pair of diamond earrings was starting to look like a bargain.

I made two stops on the way home.  One at the jewelry store to pick up and pay for the less expensive earrings, the other stop was at the WalMart.

It is nice to go in and pick up a bag at the jewelry store and just pay.  (The lack of thought here would of course get me in trouble.)  I knew I could depend on my oldest daughter not spilling the beans on picking out the earrings for me. I made up for it at the WalMart. 

This WalMart was one with groceries and I was going up and down the aisles looking for what I needed.

I found what I was looking for on the bottom shelf of an aisle where two older ladies had stopped their shopping carts and decided to talk right in front of what I needed.  They were very nice and politely moved out of the way.

I picked up what I needed and one of the ladies asked me, “What are you going to do with all of those pork and beans?”  I had gotten a can of pork and beans large enough to feed the congregation of a small Baptist church in Alabama.

“I’m glad you asked me that,” I explained to the lady.  Then I told her, “Let me run this by you.  You see my wife’s 50th birthday is today and she wants a new range.  After pricing what it’s going to cost to get gas in the house, I thought this would be a better option.”

The two ladies of course started laughing – they were bent over laughing to be honest.  As I left carrying the huge can of beans, one of the ladies warned me, “I sure would hate to be you tonight.”

My wife appreciated the humor; the beans were in a nice bag. Everything was ok, she got the earrings and she will get the gas (from the gas company) and the new range and probably the countertops and everything else she wanted.


I’ll be taking beans to the next office party.

Read more stories at  (You won’t find this one there.)