Sunday, October 26, 2014

Timing is Almost Everything

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

Rick, Tess, and Tim Williams each had a problem. They all had the same problem: each wanted a raise in allowance. Weekly, they got different allowance amounts: Rick, the most; Tess, less: Tim, the least.

Should they ask their father one-by-one or go as a group?

If they went singly, would the first kid have the easiest time or the hardest? What about the one who asked last?

They put the question to their mother, who had an old saying to apply: “Let sleeping dogs lie…your dad is not a dog, but he is napping on the couch. This is not the time to bother him.”

They waited.

Once Dad arose, they checked with Mom again.

“Now?” asked Tim.

“Wait until your father has had supper. Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

“What?” inquired Tess.

Rick explained, “Mom means some things should be done in a certain order, like making sure Dad is not hungry before you ask him for a favor.”

Supper came and went, including dessert and coffee for Dad. He looked mellow.

“Now?” Tim asked his mother.

“Make hay while the sun shines. Strike while the iron is hot.”

“She means yes, now,” Tess said.

They all sat down with Mr. W. at the dining table. Tess almost sat on her dad’s lap, then decided she was a bit too big and that it was a bit too pushy. She did give him a kiss before she sat down.

“You ask, Rick,” Tim urged.

“Dad, we would like our allowances raised.”

“Am I going to get something in return?”

“More hugs?” suggested Tess.

“Nice try, young lady, but I was thinking in terms of chores.”

“I’ll wash the van once a month, except in the winter,” offered Rick.

“Sounds good. How much of a raise do you want?” Rick’s dad and he then discussed money for a minute or two and came to an agreement.

“Is the sun still shining, Dad?” Tess asked, thinking of making hay…getting more allowance.

“Brightly. What’s your offer, Tess. What new chore will you pick up?”

“I’ll make breakfast for all of us each Saturday morning.”

This was followed by a brief discussion, and Tess ended up with her raise.

“Tim, my good lad, you are the last. I would say that I am almost broke, but you know that isn’t true. You’ll get some more money, too, but what will you do for it?”

“What should I do, Dad?”

“Why don’t you do the dishes after the breakfast Tess is making every Saturday?”


And so the allowances were raised for everyone…except Mrs. Williams, who did not actually get an allowance, but who did have a household budget limit…one she wanted increased, also.

Tess gave her father a hug and commented, “Haven’t you forgotten someone?”



“Honey, did you want a raise, too?” He asked his wife.

“I thought you would never ask. Yes.” She responded.

“What are you going to do extra?”

“We’ll talk about that later.”

Mr. Williams had recently gotten a raise at his job, so he did not really much mind all of this. The requests had come at a good time…and timing, he thought to himself, is almost everything.


From our series of 50 instructive short stories.

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