Time Not Money

Jessica Louise Antwerp sat in her front parlor fanning herself. Her grandson William Andrew Antwerp was late for his weekly visit, and she was aggravated..
She didn’t understand why she continued this ritual every Saturday morning. Most weeks her carefully planned brunch was for naught since he entered the local seminary. He always had some excuse involving an in-depth dissertation on the first chapter of Second Thessalonians or translating Revelations from its original Greek into Latin and then into Elizabethan English.
Any moment she expected a polite knock at the door from the grocer’s assistant who would be delivering a box of chocolates or a bouquet with a note, “So sorry to miss brunch, Grandma. Preparing to become God’s servant consumes all my time. You know you’ve always been my best friend. Love, Bill Andy.”
Jessica sniffed at the thought of the all-too-frequent last-minute gifts. She did not particularly like chocolates and generally she ended up giving them to the neighbor children. The benefit of her generosity was they had stopped stomping through her flower beds. And since the flowers in her beds were now in abundance she saw no need in William sending her ill-kept flowers from a store.
She had not been his best friend since he discovered girls at age thirteen. Under threat of being excluded from her will, William had continued his weekly visits through his public school education. Jessica could tell by the way he looked around the room and nervous laughter that he would have rather been somewhere else.
Jessica spent most of the Saturday brunch during William’s teen-aged years lecturing him on the importance of duty to family, God and the United States of America. William always nodded enthusiastically, but she doubted his sincerity.
“And for Heaven’s sake, forbid anyone from calling you Bill Andy. It sounds like you were raised among the cows on the High Plains. Your name is William Andrew.” After a pause she added, “The fourth. We have a long history of respectability and tasteful display of personal wealth in this community, and you have an obligation to continue that tradition.”
William’s warm smile never wavered. However his marks in school and disturbing reports on disquieting highjinks led Jessica to believe he was on the road to a life of dissolution. Therefore, upon her grandson’s high school graduation, Jessica summoned him and his parents to her parlor.
“It is obvious that you, William III, have failed as a father and as a result I am taking charge of William’s higher education. I shall enroll the young man in the local seminary to prepare for a life of service to the Lord.” She turned to stare into her grandson’s eyes. “You will learn discipline. You have a shocking lack of follow through in your endeavors, and the seminary will remedy that.”
A light tap at the door roused her from her troubled thoughts. She expected to see the delivery boy, but instead it was William Andrew, dressed in his best Sunday suit and with hat in hand. Jessica noticed his eyes were red and puffy.
“Grandmother,” he began contritely, “I wish to apologize for my recent irresponsible behavior. It was foolish of me to assume an expenditure of cash would make up for the lack of my presence at Saturday brunch. As of now, that conduct will cease. I will no longer spend money on you, but rather spend my time with you every week at brunch. I hope this meets with your approval.”
Jessica’s eyes glistened in triumph. “It certainly does.”
“That’s great.” He beamed. “Because I’ve decided to spend all my allowance on Lula Belle down at the cat house. We did it four times without stopping last night.” Bill Andy patted his grandma on the head. “So you were wrong when you said I didn’t have any follow through.”

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