An old man walked into the James Avery store in Pearland on Saturday. He approached the lady behind the counter and held out the latest James Avery catalog. “I’d like to buy this cross, please,” he told her, indicating a lovely gold cross pendant that had clovers at the end of each bar.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sir,” the lady replied. “We don’t have that one in stock here. I can order it from Kerrville, and it will be here Tuesday.”
The old man’s eyes filled with tears. He felt compelled to tell the nice lady his story. “You see, my wife is dying,” he began. “I’ve been taking care of her for months, and it won’t be long now. Years ago, she had this same James Avery cross, but it was stolen in a break-in. At that time, back in the ‘80’s, James Avery had stopped making this cross, so we were never able to replace it. This morning, my wife was looking through the new catalog and said with happy surprise, ‘Oh, look, honey, here’s that cross I loved so much!’ I told her I would go right out and get it for her, so that she could enjoy it…for a few days.
“Please go ahead and order it for me, and, if she is still here on Tuesday, I will give it to her.”
The lady at the counter didn’t know what to say. She took a breath and said, “There are other stores here in Houston that have the cross in stock. Would you like for me to call the nearest one and ask them to hold it for you?”
“No. Thank you,” said the old man, “but I can’t be gone from my wife’s side for that long. I have to go back home now. Let’s go ahead and order the one from Kerrville.” And he left.
The next morning, the old man’s phone rang. The lady from the James Avery store was calling. “Sir, I was so touched by your story that I went to the other store and picked up your cross for you. It is here at the Pearland store any time you would like to pick it up.”
“Oh, thank you!” the old man replied with true appreciation. He went to the store that afternoon, picked up the cross, and presented it to his wife. She immediately asked him to put it around her neck, and she admired it and held onto it all afternoon.
She did indeed live past the next Tuesday and, when their daughter came to visit, she showed the cross proudly. “Look what your daddy got for me!”
Later, the old man talked to his best friend. “I don’t know why I bought that cross for her, Bill. I hope it brings her some joy in these last few weeks—or days of her life.”
Bill said, “When she’s gone, you wear the cross. Put it on and wear it under your shirt, and, when you are feeling like maybe you weren’t a good enough husband, you take it out and look at it. And you’ll know that you were good enough.”