Only Joking

Only Joking

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Only Joking

Ask and it shall be given to you.

Matthew 7:7

I was a military wife stationed in California in the mid-1980s. My helicopter pilot husband was gone much of the time. He handled the separations in his way, and I handled them in mine.

During this time, he was often in Panama for three to four months at a time. He was able to call me at home once a week, for five minutes. I was often not at home when he phoned and would keep his messages on the answering machine tape to listen to over and over again until he returned.

Once, just before he was due to return, he phoned, and during the conversation said he had bought something for me. The very next night he was able to surprise me with another phone call. He had only a minute to talk, saying he had been celebrating the night before and didn’t remember what we’d talked about. I reminded him that he said he’d bought me lace table linens and a gold bracelet. He hung up before I could tell him that I was only joking and that he hadn’t told me what he’d bought for me at all.

When he got home three days later and was emptying his duffel bag, there they were: the hand-embroidered lace tablecloth and napkins, and a lovely gold bracelet— all of which he had quickly gone out and bought for me after that second phone call.

I finally told him the truth about that second phone call, but only after I’d put the linens on the table and the bracelet on my wrist. We had a good laugh, and he never again used his five-minute phone call to telephone me after he’d been “celebrating.”

Vicki A. Vadala-Cummings

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