When Sam and I travel, we occasionally enjoy visiting the odd antique store. We usually aren't looking for any big pieces, but it's fun to comb through old books, tools, miscellaneous chotchke, and nondescript junk. I like to find unique gifts this way, too. Especially ones for someone who collects a certain item.
In December, we took a short trip to a mountain resort town. We have visited this same spot often but always in the summer for fishing. Winter is ski season in the area. Some days were warmer than others, but on the colder ones, we probably spent more time in the shops and restaurants than usual.
There is a used book shop in this town that we love no matter the season. The shop is located in a big, old house. There is room after room of books on shelves and perilously stacked on the floor. The owner is quite the character. Sam says you could nicely describe him as a "crusty old guy." I laughed because I have heard Sam described the same way! We pored through the dusty shelves for almost 2 hours. Sam found several thick history books that we dropped off at our hotel before resuming our travels.
The temperature was frigid the day we decided to drive along a more rural highway to reach an antique store we knew. This was also located in a huge, old house along with several outbuildings that contained some really cool farm equipment and large rustic metal tools. For a time we stayed together and talked about some of the interesting things we saw. Soon, though, we drifted apart as we explored each room. I found an old book that I knew would be appreciated by a friend and also a ceramic Virgin Mary figurine for my daughter-in-law's collection. That actually finished my Christmas shopping, so I was feeling quite good.
It was a weekday, and the shop was not crowded. I glanced up as Sam came into the room where I was. He was smiling and rapping something on the palm of his hand. When he came closer, I could see that it was a type of large ruler.
"I have been looking for one of these. It's an old 18 inch ruler," he told me. And with that, he whacked me on the bottom. Although the ruler made quite a noise connecting, there was no one else close enough to hear.
"Holy hell, Sam! That hurt right through my jeans! Are you buying that thing?" I asked.
"You bet I am," he grinned.
"Can it just be for play?"
"We'll see. Be sure to listen to me, and you won't have to find out."
Point taken. He waved it around a bit when we returned to the hotel and popped me on the bum a few more times. Then it went into the stack of Christmas things we had purchased. When we unpacked from our long weekend, the ruler was added to the stash in Sam's bottom drawer.
As the holidays approached, I decided that I needed to do better than last year with my sugar consumption. About five pounds better, in fact. As always, unless I ask my guy
for help with my food choices, Sam could care less what I eat. When we discussed my request, we decided that the sugar rule this year was to be that I had none unless Sam put it in my hand. I kissed my handsome diet coach and agreed to abide by the new rule.
Gosh, I surely do love to bake, especially at Christmas. I made all the family favorites and more this year. Not once did I eat a cookie warm from the oven, since Sam was not there to give me one. I didn't even lick the spoon. After they were all tucked into tins, Sam would bring me just one cookie while I relaxed with my Kindle in the evening. Over the days before the 25th, I tried them all and never cheated.
Christmas Day is a buffet at our house. Everyone brings a dish, and there are lots of yummy things to graze on while Sam finishes the main course. My cookies were on the table as well. It makes me quite happy to have our friends and family dig into the tins and enjoy all my efforts.
Did not even think of eating my cookies. I knew there was a chocolate peppermint pie for later. It wasn't until my sweet niece and her family arrived that temptation knocked at the door. She added another tin of cookies to the table and announced that she had used her Grandma Beth's recipe. That's when the little sugar devil on my shoulder started talking in my ear. Surely I didn't want to hurt her feelings? Just one. Just to be polite. I would talk to Sam later. He was busy right now.
Maybe that would have been OK, but the devil had settled in and planned to stay for the day. As I flitted about making sure everyone had drinks filled, opening more presents, playing with the baby, and helping Sam where I could, I would filch another cookie. Lost track of how many, but it had to be at least 8. Um, maybe 10. And, yes, I had the pie, too.
It wasn't until hours later that my conscience started to prick at me. We were both dead tired, and Sam was spooning me in bed. We talked back and forth about the day. It really had been a wonderful time.
"And you've done so well avoiding the sugar," Sam said as he kissed the back of my neck.
Oh, shit, I thought, I really need to fess up.
"Sam, I....did cheat a little today," I whispered.
"Did you have a cookie?" he asked.
"Well...," I mumbled, stalling a bit.
"How many?" and his voice had deepened.
"Um.... about 8, I think."
I could hear his disappointment when he said, "Ell...a? Why didn't you ask me for help?"
"Don't know," I said. "I was doing fine and then...."
"We'll talk about this in the morning. Get some sleep."
Sam slept in the next morning, but I got up early and spent over an hour cleaning up the holiday devastation. I had just finished and had poured another cup of coffee to sit by the fireplace and start some thank you notes. My guy does not usually do anything before his coffee, but suddenly he was in the doorway.
"Let's get this settled, Ella. Come with me." He had not forgotten.
I was standing by the bed and saw Sam take that old ruler out of the bottom drawer.
"Sam, you said that thing would only be for play," I pleaded.
"No, you said that, Ells."
Over the bed I went, and that ruler was the meanest thing west of the Pecos! OMG. I was making so much noise as Sam spanked and talked. He went on about keeping my word and asking him for help. He talked about how I needed to obey him. I did scream once as that nasty thing hit its mark. Sam lightened up a bit but didn't stop right then. He gave me some stern diet coach advice and reminded me of the rule upon which we had both agreed. When he was finally finished, I just lay there for a few more moments. Then Sam pulled me up for a most amazing kiss.
"See, Ells, if you break the Golden Rule around here, I might just use the golden ruler," he said while he patted my bottom.
"The Golden Rule? I questioned. "You mean like "Do unto oth-"
And he interrupted me, "No, my Golden Rule."
"So, what is your Golden Rule?" I asked and looked into his eyes.
He smiled and then held me close,
"My Golden Rule is anything I say it is."
And that's the true meaning of that old adage according to Sam.