Is Grandpa Roger too cheap or parsimonious?Late last Saturday afternoon, we went over to LuAnn’s, our daughter, to say “goodbye” as we would head back to South Dakota the next morning. We offered to take them out for supper, and a hearty “Yes” was heard without hesitation. On the way to Culver’s, we stopped at our house to pick up some discount coupons.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
Late last Saturday afternoon, we went over to LuAnn’s, our daughter, to say “goodbye” as we would head back to South Dakota the next morning. We offered to take them out for supper, and a hearty “Yes” was heard without hesitation. On the way to Culver’s, we stopped at our house to pick up some discount coupons.
Two of the grandkids had ordered chicken strips, and both left an untouched chicken strip in their baskets along with some cheese curds. I wrapped the strips in a napkin along with the curds and put them in my jacket pocket. I told the kids I’d munch on them on the way back to South Dakota.
Immediately Gracie responded, “Grandpa, you’re cheap!”
“I am not cheap!” I snapped. “Why would you say I’m cheap?” She had definitely touched a raw nerve.
“First, you had to stop at your house for discount coupons. Then you took the pieces of leftover chicken. That’s cheap!” Grace retorted. There are some things that kids don’t seem to understand today. When I was a kid, you cleaned up your plate. It wasn’t negotiable.
My temperature continued to rise as we headed toward the parking lot. “Grace, the shotguns I gave you guys for Christmas last year were not cheap. The Canadian fishing trip I paid for last summer was not cheap. The jackets we just gave you guys for your birthdays were not cheap. At $46, the supper we just ate was not cheap.”
The conversation continued as we piled into our Ford Explorer. Betsy attempted to be a mediator. “Grandpa’s not cheap. It’s just that he’s always tried to be careful with our spending.”
The atmosphere improved somewhat. Now grandpa thought it might be time for a new word. “Kids, I want you to learn a new word. The word is ‘parsimonious.’ It means being careful with one’s money.”
Now the other twin, Gabrielle, entered the conversation.
“Grandpa, you’re always trying to teach us something. We don’t want to know any new words.”
I didn’t quit. Now I suggested the word “astute” as they didn’t like “parsimonious.” Both twins recognized “astute” as a vocabulary word they recently had in school. My lesson now had some credibility. The visit eventually concluded with hugs and a “come back soon.” Our grandchildren are very special.
Truthfully, there are times when I may be a little too parsimonious. Last fall, we decided to head to Watertown and root for our Wagner girls at the state volleyball tournament. After the opener, we decided to stay overnight and catch the next day’s action. Many fans told us we might have trouble finding a motel room, but I was confident that we could find a non-chain, “ma-and-pop” motel for half the money.
We were driving down the strip when I spotted a rather plain looking motel in an alley way. I pulled in. After negotiating a price, we checked out the room as Betsy was worried about bed bugs. It appeared to be old but clean. Betsy continued her investigation. She pulled back the bedspread, blanket and top sheet. On the bottom sheet was a large brown stain. “You’re sleeping on that side,” she announced. I went out the door and brought back the proprietor. The bedding was changed immediately.
Can my alleged parsimonious ways be used in the world of outdoor adventure? Don Kaberna and I once went on a caribou hunt for half price when some hunters backed out of a hunt and forfeited their deposit. Doug Koupal and I went on a discounted Newfoundland moose hunt because we were able to go on short notice. And then there are those cow elk hunts for a small fraction of the price of a bull hunt. Yes, there are ways to buy quality without paying a small fortune.
If I am cheap, I’m certainly not cheap when it comes to the guns I carry. When I made my first African hunt in 1993, my professional hunter, Jon Dirkse, carried an Austrian built Steyr-Mannlicher Shoenauer bolt-action carbine. The action was silky smooth. It had double-set triggers, a full-length stock, and a “butter knife” bolt handle. The magazine could be emptied by pressing a button on the top of the receiver. Right then and there I knew I had to have one if at all possible.
A few years later, while watching a TV program sponsored by the NRA, they rated the top ten rifles ever built. The 1956 Steyr carbine, Jon Dirkse’s rifle, ranked high in that top ten. Now I was more determined than ever.
A year later I found a 1956 Steyr carbine in Rapid City. It was at Jack First’s Gun Shop. It had belonged to a doctor whose widow brought it in. I gave them a deposit and paid for the rifle over the next 12 months. I’ve never regretted that purchase. Since then I’ve placed a Leupold Vari-X III scope on that rifle. It has accounted for three elk, a dozen deer, two pronghorns, and accompanied me on my 2011 Argentine adventure.
If you too like nice things, watch for one of these rifles at the big Sioux Falls gun show on February 9-10. I’ll probably see you there. Maybe we could run over to McDonald’s for a snack and check out the Dollar Menu.
*See you next week.