My encounter with Kate last week, and all that followed, left a deep impression and a part of me hasn’t wanted to move on. I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year and how my perspective has shifted and changed.
When I started giving away hundred dollar bills a year ago, I was motivated in large part by the desire to honor my mother by repairing a broken part of myself. The cheapskate gene was part of her legacy and came along with a resiliency of spirit, a love of language, an ear for music and a respectable nest egg. (If you’ve missed the early posts, there’s lots about my mom here.)
I am, as Louise likes to say, rehabbed. Something about giving away over 100 hundred dollar bills has rewired my brain and I have a very different relationship with money than I used to. I’ll never be completely free of the lens of frugality through which I view every monetary transaction, and I’m okay with that. I believe in being frugal, which doesn’t require being a cheapskate.
Lots to think about as I advance on the end of the year and my “hundred hundreds” commitment. Stay tuned. And please feel free to chime in!
Yesterday I had the bright idea of going to Fred Meyer just as church was letting out. At least, I think that would explain the throngs of well-dressed shoppers on a Sunday afternoon.
The aisles were full and I almost collided with a man and his cart. I noticed that he had a baby strapped to his chest and was not only pushing one cart but pulling a second as well. There was a toddler sitting in the second cart, and a woman nearby studying the items on the shelf. One cart was almost entirely filled with bottles of juice, and the other nearly overflowing with a variety of not-the-healthiest items. I couldn’t help but notice.
I kept on moving, intent on getting done and out of there asap. Then I remembered the hundred in my pocket. I figured that young family could sure use a little boost. I turned around and made my way back down the aisle; they hadn’t moved.
“Wow, you sure have your hands full!” I said (helpful as always). The guy smiled. “Yeah, at least she’s got him.” He cocked his head toward the woman and the boy in the other cart. I took a closer look at the baby, who was completely enfolded in a hooded blanket. The man pulled the blanket down, revealing a little bundle of cuteness.
I can’t even remember what I said; something about my mother and giving gifts and I handed over the bill. “THANK YOU!” the man cried. “THANK YOU!” He reached out to shake my hand and asked my name. “I’m Brandon.”
His wife was oblivious; she was down the aisle a ways, crouched down in front of the shelves with a scowl on her face. The toddler had been crying but now he was watching me intently, a single tear perched precariously under his eye.
I showed the boy his picture and he reached for the camera. “No, baby,” his mother said. “You can’t have that. You might break it.” She smiled at me real wide and said I could take their picture. “Everyone’s always tagging me on Facebook, so why not!” she laughed.
We didn’t talk long, but our paths crossed again in the checkout line. The two carts were overflowing. I wish I could say they were filled with fruits and vegetables, but they weren’t. “You having a party?” I asked, stupidly. “Nope,” said Brandon. “Just hungry!”
I turned back to look at them one more time when I was done checking out. “See ya!” I said. Brandon just smiled.
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They don’t look massively overweight as many people do who eat unhealthy food, so they must not overeat it, anyway. The kids are adorable, great pictures!
They don’t look overweight at all [imo] so like Djan said maybe they eat it in moderation.
Or at least exercise. Looks as tho’ she just had a baby and looks good.
It is so very true that the bad for you stuff is so much cheaper to buy than the good for you stuff. Sad isn’t it? Our weekly grocery costs have doubled in the last year and it is getting harder to stick to a healthy diet. Heck, all manner of milk here has doubled in price [soy, cow, almond].
Oh well, I know that beautiful young family will appreciate your gift.