Archive for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adventure in a ‘whole dollar’

December 31, 2008

She was sitting on the floor of a local store, trying on slippers. She was dressed in shades of pink and white. Her blonde hair dangled on either shoulder. It was cold outside, and she was dressed for the weather, trying on slippers with the eagerness of an 8-year-old.

Her mother, unseen, called to her from an aisle where she was shopping, “You can have a dollar to spend,” she said, then added, “You can spend it anywhere in the store, and you can buy anything you want.”

The youngster’s blond hair flew as she jerked off her coat and tossed it aside. She pulled off the slippers and called back to her mother, “Well, I am sure not going to spend it on a pair of slippers that may not fit when I get them home.” And those slippers popped back on the shelf quicker than you can say “jack be quick.”

She tossed her coat over one arm and began her trek up and down the aisles, looking and touching. She called out to her mother, “A whole dollar?”

“A whole dollar,” her mother replied.

She passed me on one of her treks down an aisle. I have heard that eyes can glisten with glee, and I saw it for the first time on the face of this youngster, flush with expectation and excitement for the gift she was about to bestow on herself.

When she passed me the second time in another aisle, she had not yet made her selection. She was dancing on tiptoes and humming. She smiled at me as she passed by. “I have a secret,” she seemed to say, “and I’ll share it with you if you want.”

I did not want. I wanted, rather, to experience her as she tripped gaily up and down each aisle, touching, looking, exploring, widening the moment into an evening’s shopping adventure.

I couldn’t help but be struck by her enthusiasm for that dollar she was going to spend. One hundred pennies, 20 nickels, four quarters — such a seemingly small sum that had grown quite large in her anticipation.

She savored every minute of her adventure. I couldn’t help but think about her and the value of that dollar, to equate that hundred pennies with time that some unseen parent has given us. To spend it as we would, up and down the aisle of life. That we might savor it and spend it as wisely as an 8-year-old. That each moment might expand into a life adventure as memorable as a shopping trip with our mother. The value of a dollar, the worth of one hundred minutes — how well spent.

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