When I was a little girl, my parents didn’t have an abundance of money. I was very fortunate: I had a warm home, plenty of clothes on my back, and I never went hungry (unless I refused to eat that which was put before me—and not often even then). However, we lived on a budget administered by Mom. Mom was a tough CFO. Once a week my dad would bring home his paycheck. Mom would take it too the bank, deposit it and keep out just enough cash for that week’s expenses. She would buy groceries and give Dad his “running money” for the week. Mom bought groceries once a week. Period. If we ran out of something before the end of the week, we ran out of something. There were no second, third, fourth trips to the grocery store.
My Dad was a pressman at the Atlanta Newspapers. He worked the graveyard shift for more than 30 years. We would eat dinner and around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m., Dad would head off to work. He would come home at 3:00 a.m. or so the next morning. He slept during the day, and when he was up before dinner, he could usually be found in his machine shop, working to add to the family coffers. He basically had two jobs.
I had the delight of a mother-daughter day last week. I had a vacation day, only part of which was devoted to a session at Write by the Lake at UW-Madison. So, I took my daughter with me, planning to spend time at the Henry Vilas Zoo and then my company’s family picnic.
As we walked from the Lake Street Parking Deck toward State Street we conversed.
“What do you want for breakfast? A bagel?”
“A fried-egg sandwich.”
“Okay. Fried-egg sandwich it is.” On our way to Memorial Union, we passed some utility construction and a big orange “digger”. We stopped to watch the digger, and the gentleman operating it smiled and waved at my daughter, who waved back excitedly. After a few minutes watching the digger at work we continued on our walk.
At the Rathskeller, we picked up a fried-egg on an English muffin and chocolate milk for my daughter and headed toward the lake. We sat on a picnic table as close to the water as we could possibly get and ate alongside the ducks.
“Look, mommy, sailboats. And rowboats; they’re having a race.” My daughter announced authoritatively.
She took a bite of her fried-egg sandwich and then set it back onto the paper wrapping.
“How is it?” I asked
“Not as good as Daddy.” She grabbed her chocolate milk and went back to staring at the ducks who really wanted to join us for breakfast.