Cash

A dear friend reminisces about money and love. Read him and weep.

As It Ought to Be

Cash
By John Unger Zussman

My grandfather loved horses and gambling more than he loved my grandmother, so he spent a lot of time at the racetrack. From time to time a small envelope would appear in our mail addressed to me, bearing the elegant raised blue return address of his butcher shop. Inside, I would find a brief note; a crisp, new hundred-dollar bill; and a clipping from the Racing Form with the winning horse circled. Its name would inevitably be Big John, or John Henry, or Johnny Diablo, or some other variant of my name.

I treasured these little missives, even though my mom always whisked the bill away immediately, to be applied to my college fund or piano lessons or the furnace repair. I liked that I received these winnings more often than my brother or sister—and not just because horses named John were more common than…

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