So small - to cause such big problems . . .
Dad was running an errand.
For his mother.
It was 1937 and the family had just recently moved to Lethbridge from Glenwood, Alberta.
He enjoyed the independence of being able to walk the few blocks downtown to the big stores and was happy to have an excuse.
Plus, his mother paid well.
She handed him a quarter and he set out.
A little background . . .
The yarn that his mother wanted him to pick up for her at Woolworths cost fifteen cents.
Which left ten cents change.
All his for running the errand.
Also, the candy store came first on his route.
Moving on . . .
Dad happily calculated how to spend his newfound wealth.
Planning ahead is everything.
Then, bag of candy in hand, he continued on towards Woolworths.
Only to discover that the yarn that his mother had sent him for was now seventeen cents.
He had already spent the change.
He didn’t have enough.
Dad looked down at his bag of candy.
No way was the store going to take it back.
And no way he could go back and confess to his mother what he had done.
How to fix this?
He stood outside the store for some time.
Finally someone inside the store next door noticed him and came out.
“Oh, no problem, we have the same yarn. We’ll sell it to you for fifteen cents.”
Dad stared at them.
Surely his problem wasn’t going to be solved this easily?
But it was.
And in the right colour.
Happily he trotted home.
Clutching both candy and yarn.
I don’t know if his mother ever found out.
She had her yarn.
And Dad had his candy.
All was well.
The part of this story I have a hard time believing is not that someone noticed a forlorn little boy out on the sidewalk of a big city and helped him solve his monumental problem.
It was the fact that yarn cost fifteen cents.
And that he could buy a bag of candy for ten.
I’d liked to have lived in those days . . .