It was a long frigid winter two years ago.
I never saw it coming. We had standards and beliefs. Hadn’t we given her enough?
Outside it was a dreary damp afternoon. Ice cold rain had been drizzling for hours. Safe in our warm cozy home I heard a firm knock on the front door. I watched, curious, as my husband opened up for the unexpected visitor. Who would be out in this weather?
He looms tall and sinister in the doorway, rain dripping from his long black trench coat. The collar turned up to meet a wild halo of frizzy black hair and his face, thin and somber partially hidden behind dripping fogged glasses making his dark eyes impossible to read . A deep voice echoes in the hall. “Is Littlest here?” Hesitant, my husband draws back a few steps.
“Littlest”, he calls out uncertainly, “there’s….. someone… here.”
His voice trails off into silence that spills into the entryway and expands until broken by the rapid beat of our fourteen year old daughters’ footsteps above.
“Oh” I hear her say as she peers over the banister, “just a minute.”
I’m puzzled now. She didn’t mention anyone coming over. What is he doing here? What does he want? She deftly descends the stairs holding something in her hand and approaches the dark figure. Saying nothing he opens his trench coat and slowly reaches inside. I see my husband tense slightly as the stranger pulls something from deep within an inner pocket. His hand emerges holding a square black box. There are wires springing from one end and wrapped around the outside. Our youngest child stops abruptly, holding out a small paper bag at arms length. They cautiously and swiftly make the exchange without physical contact. He opens the bag and peers inside, nodding as though to confirm that it's all there and carefully tucks it into the recesses of the trench coat. “Thanks”, Littlest says quietly. The stranger dips his head in acknowledgement and turns away, disappearing into the mist.
My husband stands at the door confused.
“What was all that”, he asks?
Littlest answered brightly. "That was H. He rides my bus. He doesn’t use his Game Cube anymore and said I could have it because he has an Xbox now, so I made him some cookies.
Oh yes. I did recognize the perfectly average boy I've seen get off the bus in the afternoon.
We are 'mean' parents. My daughters do not own a lot of fancy gadgets. They don't have an iPhone or Androids. Just plain cheap cell phones. The fact that they break or lose at least one a year confirms this decision. Lit has an older model iPod that DecentGuy gave her but we will not purchase one. A perfectly reasonable MP3 player can be had for twenty five bucks. They each have a PC but they don't have laptops. Littlest did get a Nintendo ds as a birthday gift a couple years ago but the last full system we purchased was a PlayStation 2 and that will be it. If they want something fancier they can save and buy it themselves someday. They had asked for a Game Cube for the sole purpose of playing ONE game on it. Even though they were already down in value we vetoed, saying it wasn't worth spending the money for one game and they had enough stuff anyway.
So yes it’s true.
Our poor deprived children resorted to Bartering With Baked Goods.
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