Blank check & best friends

A blank check could take one back to Nicaragua...

A blank check could take one back to Nicaragua…

The title which begs to be used is:  Blank checks are a girl’s best friend.

However, that would be totally misleading.

(Not that I’ve hesitated misleading you before…big grin…)

I have two stories to tell you this deliciously melting 42 degree (5.5 C) February afternoon.  Heavens, we haven’t seen 42 degrees since autumn, I swear it.  We’re now experiencing three blessed mid-winter days of slippery slidey icicle-melting delight before the weather turns ugly at week’s end.  At least that’s what those blizzard-forecasters are mumbling beneath their radar breath.

Heck, you should have seen us attempting to shovel four feet of snow off our woodpile this weekend!  You should have witnessed us buried in snow attempting to load the wood room.  It wasn’t pretty.

So, instead, I’ll tell you a funny happening.

Sunset through the casa window in Nicaragua.

Sunset through the casa window in Nicaragua.

As many of you know, I’m a tax collector and sinner.  (Ha ha–love using that line.)

I’ve collected property taxes for this township-in-the-north-woods since you wore diapers.  I’ve taken checks and money orders and cash for taxes for so many years…well, never mind.  Let’s just say over a quarter of a century.

Last week something amazing happened.  A fellow mailed me a blank check.

OK, that’s a slight misrepresentation.  He actually sent two checks for the appropriate amount.  Then he included a blank check–with attached business card–for adding his penalties and interest.

I stared at that blank check, befuddled, for at least two minutes.

Suddenly, dreams of escaping for the tropics surfaced.  Where might a snowbound northerner travel with a blank check?

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, 2012

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, 2012

I sighed and called the phone number on the business card.

“I sent you a blank check!” acknowledged the fella on the other end of the line after our introductions.

“I’m headed for Mexico!” I smartly replied, attempting to alert him to what less-than-honest people might do.

He laughed.  I laughed.  I told him the amount of his penalty and carefully penned it in the empty space.

“Awww, I know your township supervisor and all you guys,” he explained.  “I knew it was safe to send the check.”

I raised my eyebrow. Trusting fellow.

Overlooking San Juan del Sur from our casa

Overlooking San Juan del Sur from our casa

OK, he was right.  It was safe.  I’m not that much of a sinner to embezzle money. In fact, can never figure out why people steal without imagining they’ll be caught by an auditor or boss or bank somewhere along the line.

The blank check is history.

I can’t take my best friend on a trip to Mexico or Nicaragua.

(Blogger is now laughing to herself at this silly segue between two disparate subjects.)

What do best friends have to do with blank checks?

Probably nothing.

I simply must share that one of my stories about a childhood best friend was published here on this fair Internet this week.  It’s called Fear and Reconciliation.

Best friends

Best friends

Miranda Beverly Whittemore features a website dedicated to friend stories. She’s recently published a novel called Bittersweet and friendship lies at the center of the book’s theme.

She explains that girlhood friendships can be passionate, secretive, playful, brutal, and more. They are how we discover who we want to be.

FriendStories is a home for these memories.

Laurie Buchanan, over there at Speaking from the Heart, urged me to submit a story, and one fine day recently I typed out an essay.

Will you click your mouse (only once, mind you) and read the story?  Please and thank you from your blogger who didn’t cash that blank check and flee to Mexico.

But that’s not all.

Share your own heart stories, my friends

Share your own heart stories, my friends

You writers, bloggers or friends with a story of your own–please consider submitting your own friend story.  Miranda truly wants to share these once or twice weekly.  Don’t be shy!  Many of you have stories wanting to be hatched, to be shared, to launch from thoughts into paragraphs.

I’m sure Miranda will not be sending you a blank check.  I know I shall not. But it might be fun.

Here are your questions.  1)  If someone gave you a blank check and it was oh-so-legitimate, what would you do with it?  Would you travel?  Pay bills? Shop?  Do tell.   2)  Did you have a childhood best friend?  Are you still in touch?



About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in February 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Blank check & best friends

  1. Almost Iowa says:

    I honestly do not know where a blank check would take me – but a friend of mine was asked where he was going after he retired. He said he would drive his pick-up south until someone pointed to all the snow in the bed and asked, “What’s that?”

  2. jeffstroud says:

    Run, fly, catch a taxi, get out of town and country… but fast! LOL Not really but it is nice to dream, as you have done.

  3. Karma says:

    I’m back from reading your story. You have a wonderful talent as a story teller. I could easy see the pictures of childhood friendship in my head.
    Answers to your questions:
    1) A warmer climate would definitely be my choice with the legitimate blank check. Cabin Fever has set in and my face and my toes are longing for a warm beach.
    2) Yes I had and still have my childhood best friend. My sister and our best friend and I were an inseparable threesome as children from the time we were 4, 5, and 6 years old respectively. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, my older daughter’s godmother and though she lives about an hour and a half drive away from me, we still see each other as often as we can.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, oh thank you for your kind words about being a story teller! I love doing this so much. 1) Wondering what warm beach you’d have your sights on. And also sprinkling fairy dust and mumbling, “Cabin fever begone!” your way. 2) That is a marvelous best friend story. So cool.

      • Karma says:

        My cabin fever is a bit better today; I have just returned from spending a lovely time with my daughters. Sarah and I went to Worcester to visit Meghan at school. Sarah stayed overnight with Meghan at her dorm while I enjoyed the luxury of a hotel room to myself! As to the beach, it wouldn’t really matter – Florida, Mexico, somewhere in the Caribbean – as long as it was sunny and warm.

  4. I think that it says a lot about small town America that some one would send a blank check to the tax collector, even in this “modern” era. At least it tells us a lot about Yoopers.

    • Kathy says:

      It does say a lot about small town America, my friend. There are still places where this is possible in our world. Having said that–there’s been several cases of embezzlement even here in our UP. Sadly…

  5. dorannrule says:

    I did the one-click thing and read your wonderful story of long-time friends reconnecting. It’s a heart warming story and It brought back so many memories of my own BFF. Now I am more determined than ever to “meet halfway” once more and spend time together.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad to have sparked some good memories of your own best buddy, Dor. You should submit a story at Miranda’s site. C’mon–I would love to read it!

  6. Carol says:

    My suspicious, untrusting mind wondered what could have happened had the envelope gone astray and arrived at a destination other than the one intended. Sad that we are all amazed at the trusting soul nowadays! Where would I go if, as Karma said, a legitimate blank check appeared? Oh, there are so many places I would love to visit – it would be eeny-meeny-miny-mo time.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, you want to know something really strange? I’ve been collecting taxes since 1984 and I don’t think anyone ever lost a check along the way. They’ve all made there way here. At least that I’ve been told about. (P.S. I suspect you’d be heading on a cruise, lol…with lots of pretty new clothes!)

  7. I’m just so doggone excited, I’m beside myself. You did it. You did it! 🙂 I’m following the link now! 🙂

  8. I’m back – Ohhhhhhh, it was just wonderful. I’m so very glad that you wrote a Friend Story 🙂

  9. Lori D says:

    Blank check – I’d do the same thing as you.
    Childhood friend – We grew up next door to each other from infancy. She was the maid of honor at my wedding. Soon after, we had a falling out and didn’t speak for 20 years (I can’t even remember what it was). When I heard her mom died, I contacted her. She said it was her mom’s wish we would be friends again. It’s been 10 years since that fateful call I made to her, and it’s like we never lost touch. I believe her and I have known each other for eons. We almost know each other’s thoughts. I’m very grateful to have her in my life again. Thanks for the thoughtful post and chance to express ourselves.

    • Kathy says:

      Wondering what you’d do if it was a legitimate blank check, Lori. Where would you go, what would you do? If the world was our “oyster”… I love the story about your childhood friend. You might want to submit it at the friendstory site. My childhood friend and I didn’t connect for many long years either. Isn’t it wonderful that we both had a “second chance”?

      • Lori D says:

        Ohhhh, sorry about the blank check misunderstanding. I’d move out of Florida and buy a quaint little cabin on the banks of a babbling brook in the mountains of Tennessee. 🙂

  10. Lori D says:

    Oh, and congratulations on having your story published on the friendstories site. It is lovely and relate-able.

  11. Susan D says:

    Oh, I love your friend story! I’m so glad it got published and shared. Lovely!
    A real blank check — really? Wow — pay bills and fix my car. Then, go to Greece for a month — with a bestie 🙂 And, then give what’s left to all the people who need money. Okay — maybe only 2 weeks in Greece, then. Don’t want to be too greedy. I have one best friend from childhood and we are still connected at our hearts, but our lives are so very different from the other’s. Interesting dynamics — this friend talk, and blank checks, and melting weather, and …thank you for another rich, wonderful blog today! Much love!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan D, maybe I’ll even become a “real” writer like you one day. (Ha ha, JUST KIDDING, my friend. The devil made me say that.) I wish I could give you a blank check. Oh how I wish that. Or at least enough to fix that car. Would I be on the bestie list if you considered a trip to Greece? After your kiddios, that is. 🙂

  12. sybil says:

    Since no dollar amount was mentioned and the money is guilt-free … I’d do stuff around the house first. Rip out carpets, put in laminate flooring. Get a woodstove. Buy a small shed to store my bike. Build an illegal chicken coop under my back deck. Then send plane vouchers to friends and family that I want to visit me. Oh, and I’d buy a greenhouse so that long after the money was gone I could still be happy outside. I’d pay off my car and Kait’s. Then I’d pay for all the dental work she needs. Are you keeping track of how much this is gonna be ? Should I go and wait out by the mail box for my cheque ? (we Canadians delight in spelling things differently — it’s our way of pretending we aren’t American 😉

    Sorry. What was the question ?

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I am sending you a fervent wish that the heavens open up and fulfill all your guilt free blank check dreams. (If it’s in your highest interests, that is.) I did keep track of your wishes, like all good Business Managers do. You didn’t mention how many plane vouchers, but I think that check should be for $ 42,400. Don’t know how that translates in Canadian, snicker, snicker, slinking off with a grin.

  13. Last week I bought a Lottery ticket so that if I won I could rent a storage unit for my stuff, buy an RV and hit the road, me and my cat Albert. I didn’t win the Lottery but if given a blank check, that’s what I’d do. I’ve always wanted to explore the Outer Banks and the eastern shore south of CT between Maryland and SC — and I’d like to live an RV size life, at least for awhile.

    I’m still in touch with several childhood friends. We don’t see each other often but when we do it’s as if we see each other daily, as if no time or distance ever separated us. I recently reconciled with an early adult friend and that’s also been a blessing.

    I enjoyed your childhood story, thank you for the link.

    • Kathy says:

      Gretchen, that sounds like a wonderful dream. A life on the road exploring. I think I might enjoy that, too. Perhaps next week’s lottery ticket? Thanks for reading the childhood story and maybe you’ll submit your own as well?

    • Gretchen, it so happens I have an RV that I want to sell – very reasonably! It has a lot of miles on it, but it has been lovingly cared for and well maintained. I’m just getting too old, and my grandson is now a full-blown teen and they’ve moved away, so we won’t be doing any more RV trips.
      I live in South Carolina, so you could pick it up here and start your east coast trip! If you’re at all interested, visit me at my WordPress site and leave a message about where I can reach you. I won’t publish the message, so you don’t need to worry about someone else reading your information. Cheers!

      • Your RV sounds wonderful and you’re definitely in the right location but, big problem, I haven’t won the lottery or received a blank check. I’ll buy a lottery ticket tomorrow and get back to you if I happen to get lucky! Thank you so much for your consideration!

    • Gretchen, I somehow replied to Kathy, below. Check it out.

      • Kathy says:

        Gosh, I wish the RV offer would work out between you and Gretchen. 🙂 We’ll have to send her some good vibes that she gets that blank check asap so she can buy yours at that reasonable rate. Loved this conversation! It shows one of the best parts of blogging.

  14. Can’t wait to read your friend story, Kathy. And I LOVE your segue from one story to the next. Fine blogger, you are, Kathy! You know all of the tricks. I’m off to look at your essay. Hope you enjoy the warmer weather.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Kathy says:

      Kathy, I suspect you have a friendstory or two hidden in your repertoire. However, you’re probably too busy writing your own memoir down there in Ecuador. Thanks for reading the story–and for your kind words!

  15. john says:

    That was beautiful …

  16. Enjoyed the blog AND the friend story. I, too, was a very shy child, but I didn’t really have a best friend until 8th grade. So I learned to love solitude, which is helpful if one wishes to write! As for the blank check, I’d probably pay off a couple of debts. A friend did send me a check for $1,000 about a year ago, and I used it (and a couple of credit cards) to pay Abbott Press to publish the Korea book!

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, you are so very right about how solitude (or shyness) gave space for writing. I spent so many hours closeted in my bedroom stringing sentences together. Usually sentences filled with angst. How cool about that $1,000 and your book does look so interesting.

  17. Robin says:

    How wonderful that you live in a place where someone can send a blank check without worrying. As for what I’d do with a blank check, hmmm. Not sure. I might hire people to pick up all the trash around here and dispose of it properly, and then have all the work done on the house that needs to be done. That would take the fun out of doing it ourselves (because nothing says fun like installing flooring and drywall, painting walls, and picking up trash). I might hire a gardener, too, to teach me how to properly take care of the land around here, and how to plant a good garden that doesn’t require weeding (impossible?? probably), and how to landscape the rest of the yard so we can have a rain garden where it’s needed and dry spots where it’s needed. Now you’ve got me dreaming. 🙂 I’m going to click now and read your story. I don’t really have a good story about a childhood best friend because I didn’t really have one. (Gosh, that sounds sad.)

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I’m smiling at all your plans for that legitimate blank check. I’ve heard there are ways to grow gardens without as much weeding. Raised beds? Mulch? Newspaper? Something like that. As for rain gardens and dry spots…you’ve just moved beyond what I can imagine. Wondering…have you found a best friend later in life? Or would you be more of a person whose friendships didn’t really qualify with a “best”?

  18. You shoveled 4 feet of snow OFF the wood pile? Good grief. That is just crazy. I bet you folks were ready for a nice roaring fire. How long did it take the wood to dry out so you could start the fire? Is there a secret or is the wood covered under all that snow? You can probably tell I am from the south and clueless. A blank check huh? I have always dreamed of winning the lottery and what I would do. The first thing we would do is get out of debt. All in all it would not take a lot. Then give some of it to our church, make sure the two young adult children are taken care of. Then I would buy a nice medium priced RV with all of the techno electronic gizmos I would need to be able to stay connected as we travel from the East Coast to the West Coast of the U.S. I would stop a million times, take a million pictures and write a million and one blog posts. Remember, I said it was a dream. LOL

    • Kathy says:

      Jeez, James, you make me think I should write another blog about our massive amount of snow–with pics, of course. Stay tuned, I just might. But, yes, there is four feet of snow on the woodpile. The wood is very dry already, so it only takes maybe a day or so before it’s ready to burn. The wood is covered with tarps beneath all the snow. Wishing you those million travel stops and your million and one blog posts. May your dream come true.

  19. Great post. I have not read your story but wiil. I had no childhood friends since I grew up on a farm were there were no neighbor children my age. I was much younger than any of the kids in my general area. I had school friends but I lost touch with them. All the girls married pretty much out of high school and I went to nursing school. There was nothing in common with any of them. I have one close best friend since about 1976 or so. We visit by phone mostly now since her health is not good. But we have many things and interests in common. That’s about it for me,

    About the blank check. I would call the man to see what it was about. I don’t “do travel.” Yes, my life is dull and I’m a stick in the mud. Short trips of 100 miles to my daughter or to a nursery or Costco is my bag.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, I am trying to imagine what that would have been like–growing up on a farm with no children your age. Wondering how that shaped you in ways different from others who had friends. Glad to hear that you found a close best friend with things in common. Smiling that you don’t “do travel”. I don’t think you’re a stuck in the mud though! I’ve seen you keen eye of delight toward butterflies and doggies…

  20. penpusherpen says:

    I clicked, Kathy, and thoroughly enjoyed your childhood story. and the following get together once grown. our early years are so important, and the memories stay with us, good and bad. I had a best friend, and we lost touch through both of us moving away with our families. Your story brought memories to the fore that I’d forgotten. Thank you. 🙂 and a blank cheque? (British spelling 🙂 ) I would have to think very, very deeply. before deciding, Oh My, he was so trusting, wasn’t he? But saying that, the trust was a compliment to you and your team. A halo shines above your head, (anything else and it would’ve been tainted eh?) A Kathy blogging on the run?,…. now that boggles the mind. 🙂 xPenx

    • Kathy says:

      Pen, I’m sorry to hear that you and your best friend lost touch after moving away. I can see how that would happen. Smiling at the use of blank “cheque”. A friend from Canada used the same spelling. As for a halo, I’m afraid mine would be a tad bit tainted. It’s hard to keep a perfect shining halo in this world, isn’t it?

  21. Elisa says:

    I remember from somewhere some of the bits of the tale that you told on the other site!! I like how you tell stories.

    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, I can’t believe that you would remember this from before. You have such a good memory! And, thank you. My inner story teller beamed in delight at your compliment.

  22. lisaspiral says:

    A blank check in fantasy would take me around the world. A blank check in reality would probably improve my living situation to accommodate keeping Orion in my home long term and my own aging. Ever practical.

  23. I read the friend story and marveled that little girls with glasses and curly hair actually had a friend as amazing. I had red hair, glasses and no friend, lived on a farm and had cousins who did not tease me as much about my red hair and glasses.
    I love solitude.
    You are a great storyteller! If I were, I would write more. However, I found that a lot of my creativity left with writing my dissertation. The professors wanted facts from peer reviewed journals.
    I had a friend once. That is a much longer tale to be told one day by this grumpy old lady!

    • Kathy says:

      I had red hair and glasses, too. Forgot to mention the red hair. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words about the story-telling. That feels good. I see how our son is writing his dissertation and can kind of grok what you’re saying about all those facts. One of the reason I didn’t stay in the journalism profession was all those facts!

  24. Aww, I love your heart moon photo! ♥ (Bet you knew I would! 😉 )
    What would I do with a legitimate blank check? Definitely travel…all the way to England, to finally meet my best friend in person….and then go on to Germany to see my childhood best friend. We met in 7th grade and really didn’t become best friends until after I moved to the US and I received a letter from her one day. We’re still best friends now, more than 20 years later and keep in touch through weekly e-mails.

  25. Hmmmm… 1) It’s fun to dream – I think I would travel and build myself a little storybook cottage. 2) I had several childhood best friends – but it seems I kept outgrowing them (or they outgrew me) and then another, new one would appear. Thanks to a chatroom and my blog, I am now reunited with three high school friends – we had lost contact for years. It’s such a small world – one of them turned out to be living about five miles away from my daughter’s new home in North Carolina!

  26. Dana says:

    If I had a legitimate blank cheque to use and could type in any amount on said cheque, I would buy Marty and I a beautiful home. 🙂

  27. What a trusting soul, sending a blank cheque through the mail!

    As for friends, my lifelong friend, (and I do mean lifelong, as she moved next door when I was just a baby!) was rushed to the hospital on February 19th and has been forefront in my thoughts for the past month and a half – one of the many reasons I haven’t been frequenting the blogosphere, lately. About 15 years ago, she moved to Edmonton and it’s been a struggle keeping in touch. We have managed to visit every 5 years or so, but it’s never enough. Fortunately, I was able to use up my VISA points to pay, at least partially, for a trip out to visit her in the hospital out there. If I had a blank cheque, I’d be able to visit her more frequently and give her the encouragement she needs on her road to recovery. 🙂

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