Ancient History

Follow Me?


Daughter Impromptu

A few nights ago, Aidan was invited to take part in a focus group involving warm cookies. Were they good? She promised not to tell anyone beyond her immediate family.

I know. We’ll just say look in your grocer’s refrigerator case for new and improved yumminess, coming soon.

She was paid with two crispy $20 bills. You could have buttered them and had them on the side with a fried egg.

A 12-year-old with $40 in a white envelope and all her homework done will not be denied a trip to the mall, especially when the mother realizes the two haven’t been alone in a retail setting in months. I was a little giddy and a lot grateful.

We walked and talked and critiqued t-shirts. She found one, but decided she couldn’t commit to a purchase on a nearly empty stomach (the cookies were small, she said). I bought a slice of food court pizza and a lemonade for her. We sat near the carousel and talked about the pros and cons of the trans-continental railroad.

Not boys, or friends, or what she wanted to wear to next week’s dance—her first. Aidan didn’t talk about those things.

She told me about the poor wages of Chinese immigrant railway workers and how they died at a rate of one man per mile. Their clothing and food was provided, but it justified poor treatment in other ways. Railroads tore across land without treaties or notice, but they brought work to men who needed it after being set adrift when the Civil War ended.

Gosh, I said, when she noted they made $1.75 a day. I told her to think about the $40 in the white envelope. That was 20 days worth of work and she earned it after tasting cookies for 10 minutes.

Times have changed, haven’t they?

She nodded and asked if I wanted some of her discarded pepperoni. I did.

We got up and walked to more stores. We admired silver ballet flats and an orange wool coat which was perfect in every way.

Maybe it arrived in our city by railway.

6 comments to Daughter Impromptu

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>