Friday, May 2, 2008
Last Friday the not-so-Lil' Feller had his seventh birthday. Which meant that, as promised many months ago, today was his first weekly allowance. Five euros a week, with a savings plan that we'd already agreed on: two in his pocket for comics and candy, and three in the kit for a larger purchase in a few months time.
Trouble was, we didn't have the "kit" to put his savings in, so we headed around the corner to the "Tabac", a combination newstand-cigar shop. The two white-haired, very Parisian ladies who run the place already know us, since we stop in regularly and pass by on the way to school every day, and because I tend to strike up conversations with shopkeepers whose stores I frequent. (You can take the kid out of Brooklyn, but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the kid.) They also love my son, because he's really well-behaved, very polite, and a natural-born charmer.
When I asked them if they had a spare cigar box lying around, they looked apologetic and explained that they either sell the boxes with the cigars, or throw the empty ones away. So I asked them if they could hold on to one for us, and with a very serious tone of voice and a wink of my eye (hidden from my son), explained what we needed it for. At which the whiter-haired of the two rummaged through the shelf under the counter, and finally came up with a tallish cigar box, white with yellow trim, that made my son's eyes go as round as saucers. I can't be certain his smile made their day, but I'd lay pretty long odds it did.
It was only after we left and were headed back home that I noticed that my son's allowance, his very first exposure to the bourgeois virtues of thrift and economy, would be gathered and collected in an empty Cuban cigar box. Hasta la victoria siempre.