Rick received a Father's Day gift today that beat any other gift he could've ever gotten.
We took my mother-in-law out to dinner at The Cracker Barrel and, as usual, Rick went in full military garb. He is so darn proud to be an American that his buttons almost can't stay buttoned. Periodically people like to buy Rick's meal to thank him for his service but it's always been anonymous. Tonight was an exception.
A young man (and I do mean young ... early 20s-ish) stopped Rick in the gift shop to thank him for his service. I listened to their conversation for a bit and then nonchalantly slipped away to check out the rest of the gift shop. I found my way to the 70% off section and hung out there for awhile, still keeping an ear out for Rick and his "friend" in case I had to rescue the young man from Rick and all of his tales. Rick loves an audience and he loves to be recognized for his military service. And sometimes the approaching party does need to be rescued from Rick. And for that, I was listening. Not good enough, though. I heard Rick call my name once or twice and I heard my mother-in-law call my name, too. But I wasn't through shopping so I was practically hiding in the discount corner.
Enough time had passed and I eventually decided to see what all the ruckus was about. Approaching the front of the store, I found Rick and his friend ... and a cashier all waiting on me. The young man insisted on paying for our meal and I had our ticket in my hand. Our new friend said it would be his honor to thank Rick in this manor. I am not a very good receiver of gifts and this one was just as awkward as any but the young man was insistent. I tried twice to tell him he didn't have to but I was also aware that it's best to let the gift giver give their gift. And so, I did.
The only flaw in the plan? My mother-in-law had already slipped me the cash for our dinner. So ... I had a dilemna. Should I give her her money back and admit that someone else had paid for our meal?
And the answer is ...
HECK NO! I finished my shopping in The Cracker Barrel gift shop and my mother-in-law's money almost perfectly covered my new skirt! It appears to me that we all won! Because, why on earth would I create another awkward situation with money. You know, the gift giver loves to give gifts ... and I would hate to have deprived my mother-in-law of such pleasure. Don't tell her. And don't tell her that I also bought a blouse. And some chocolate. The chocolate justified it all.