Essay: Gift Certificates

Sep 27, 2019

A while ago, my husband gave me a gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants, a little hole-in-the-wall place called the Blue Heron in Traverse City.  They served the most remarkable food—elegant salads and hearty breakfasts—and I loved going there with friends, installing ourselves in a cozy booth and taking our time.

So, I put the gift certificate in a drawer, saving it for a special occasion.  But by the time that occasion arrived—and I arrived at the Blue Heron—I discovered the restaurant had closed!  Closed!  I was so surprised and so sad.  It had seemed so successful to me, crowded with happy customers like myself.

Now I stood at the locked door of the Blue Heron, reading the goodbye sign, holding my worthless gift certificate—sorry that my husband had wasted his money, sorry that I had wasted my chance to eat there one more time. 

And I remembered the good advice of an elderly friend.  “Don’t postpone joy,” she said—and she and her husband had seized the day, every day.

I should have done the same, should not have hoarded my gift certificate but invited her at once to lunch at the Blue Heron.  To experience the joy of elegant salads and wise friends.