A few years back, Noni and I had a children's book published by the name of "Rahab's Promise" (Subtitle: Buy Early and Buy Often!). Every year since then, at the end of February, we get our ever-decreasing royalty checks. Since we collaborated on the book, the royalties are split between us in a completely fair manner.
However, there was one aspect of the whole royalty deal that was never fair and was decidedly skewed in Noni's direction. Back in California we lived only 3 miles apart, but her mail got there at 10:00 in the morning and mine came around 1-2:00 in the afternoon. Year after year she always got her check first!
This year things were a little more equal between the two of us. We both have a PO Box in the same little post office and it was simply a matter of who would pick up their mail first on the lucky day. Thus matters stood as we headed into the final week of February when we would normally expect our checks.
That is, until one day when Noni and I were having our daily "I wonder when they'll get here" confab. I was gloating that for once I might actually get the check first when she asked me if I had updated my address at the Review and Herald Publishing Co.
With dawning despair, I realized that my check would have to go all the way to California and back to Montana, while her check would simply jaunt over from Maryland. Oh, the crushing disappointment! Oh, the mocking, cruel laughter of my own sister!
Noni called up the Review later that day and was told our checks had been mailed already and should get there Friday, the next Monday at the latest. I listened without much enthusiasm; it no longer mattered to me.
"But don't worry," she said. "I told them your new address for next year."
Monday came and went with no checks. I started going to the post office and getting Noni's mail, and it became a daily race to see who could get there first. But days passed and still no check. I began to hold the faintest hope that hers might be delayed and allow mine to get there first, but of course, remembering how I had felt at her unfeeling mirth, I never betrayed a whisper of that thought!
This Sabbath, after potluck, I got a call from my mom telling me to stop by her house before going out to mine.
"Just stop by."
I knew instantly what it was. "OK, well, it was nice seeing all you folks. Gotta go! Bye!"
I dashed home, knowing Noni's check was waiting in her PO Box, but that she couldn't possibly lay hands on it before I touched mine. I didn't open my check yet, since I don't do business things on Sabbath, but I must confess it was a struggle not to think about it. About 5 minutes after sundown my cell phone rang. It was Noni.
"Do you have my check?" The suspicious whine came over the phone.
Triumph burst upon me in a wave. "Why, no I don't. Didn't yours come?" I think my eyelashes were batting at that point.
I was able to share with her the amount of the check, gladly performing the same service she had done for me all those years. I know, I'm such a good sister. I won't tell you how much it was, but I will say that I'll be able to buy that $13 sled I had my eyes on. Barely.