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The Dilemma

He had eleven dollars.

And nineteen cents.

Enough to make his jaw hang like a lottery winner.

The money was a belated Christmas gift. Which hadn’t started out as money but as a game we already owned. And which when returned to Fred Meyer turned into a gift card with eleven dollars and some change.

What to buy in the entire store with his new wealth became the dilemma.

And so…with eyes the size of cantaloupes and feet that skipped on air, my son fingered and pawed and darted between aisles announcing with finality that he wanted this hot rod. He was sure of it.

Until he saw the ball and bat cellophaned together. Which was definitely what he wanted more. And what he carried around…

Until he saw the sleeping bag, the size of a bundle of firewood and which fit into his arms perfectly once he dropped the ball and bat.

The kid hugged play dough, pretended to blast a water pistol, picked up sidewalk chalk, and pointed to every game he ‘needed.’ Until he remembered that what he really wanted was duck tape. All of them. The rainbow kind. The ones with stripes. The shiny ones.

And so he sampled them in his hands, wearing them like bracelets, placing one or two in the cart and then changing his mind.


When we left, it was with a single roll of tape. Bright green. Swung round with the handles of a plastic bag and carried proudly with a separate receipt. This was Christmas.


Or a third of it.


Last night with seven bucks we landed on the skein of black yarn he’d always wanted. Always.

So he said.

02 28 13_1985

At which time we didn’t hear a peep from him until he’d restrung his sister’s guitar and booby-trapped the hallway.

02 28 13_1987

The new dilemma…

What to buy with $3.65?



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