Damien Riley’s post of 23 November, “We Have A Winner” brought an ancient memory into focus, a memory that is screaming to be told.
I was having lunch in a Los Angeles truck stop when a man in his early thirties entered with his lady friend and her two children. They chose an adjacent booth, and while they awaited their food the man went to the stuffed animal machine. But after several dollars he still had nothing. The little boy, perhaps seven years was watching.
“Can I try?” he asked as soon as the man was seated.
The man tried to ignore him. It was as though he had some experience along these. Maybe he was short on funds. Whatever the reason, ignoring wasn’t working. At last, he slid two quarters across the counter and then continued his conversation with the lady. But he was soon interrupted by the boy bearing a stuffed animal.
The man smiles and suggested it was beginners luck and produced two more quarters. The boy grabbed the quarters and was gone in a flash, only to return an instant later with another stuffed animal. I had to get back on the road, but when I stood to leave there were four stuffed animals on their table, and the man was not a happy camper.
I don’t know the end of the story, but I’ll wager the man never took the boy near that place again.
Indeed, youngsters understand more than we realize.