Monday, October 20, 2008

elementary economics

On Will’s birthday, Will and I hiked up to Sisters Bazaar and bought a few things from Prakash's, where we also bought a cold bottle of orange juice to share as we sat on the wall by the side of road. They have built short stone two-foot tall walls along the road right at the top of our trail as barriers to hold the road together and keep the cars from falling down the mountain. If you could go on the other side and look at Will, he would look just like Schroeder in one of those peculiar but nonetheless frequent Peanuts comics where a couple of the characters are just having a conversation so Schulz draws them awkwardly sitting or standing behind a stone wall and you wonder how tall the wall is and what they are sitting on. I think Charles Schulz was embarrassed about the way he drew legs. But I digress. We had a lovely time sharing our bottle of orange juice and we both enjoyed the fresh air and the view of the snowy mountains.

A few days ago Will was remembering our trip. "We went to Prakash's and he gave us orange juice." It was then that I realized that Mr Prakash was the hero of his story, not his poor father who bought the orange juice. I was just a fellow freeloader, and possibly resented for not requesting more bottles of juice, and bigger ones. Without comprehending the money thing, Will is only able to conclude that the shop keepers are very kind people who give us anything we have the presence of mind to request. Will is surely perplexed that his stupid parents do not make better and more frequent use of these institutions. Why do we leave so much good stuff in the shop? He must think we are so inept.

The day after that revelation, Will was listening to Joie order some provisions from Mr Prakash. "Can I place an order please? We would like it delivered to Redwood Cottage" Here Will was probably wishing more than anything that he knew how to use a phone. "Some boxes of milk... two boxes of cranberry juice... one yogurt... some chicken..." and Will could contain himself no longer. I could see the wheels turning in his pert little head, and he was visibly excited by the potential of such an interaction. He waited for Joie to pause between items, and in the same bold but cautious voice with which he first called me 'Nate', he chipped in "A soccer ball."

It is a delight to watch Will sort out the details of our strange life.


  1. That is just hilarious!! What a great little kid. And... he DOES have a really great dad too. I was there - I saw how you interact with him and how you so lovingly teach him about life and your sense of humor, and so much more. No wonder he is so much fun. Yes, we are thankful in-laws. :)

  2. After reading about Will thanking the shopkeeper, I had a similar experience. I was leaving "Ernie's Hardware" with 2 small boys and 2 sodas and both of them turned around and said thank-you to the clerk.

    What a joy ! Good to hear of you and yours.

    Love to all,

  3. I was laughing out loud at this one, picturing the articulate story that you paint so well. Will is indeed a funny little man, as is his Papa :)