Change from a Five

Sunday morning, I asked Jeff to go to the corner store to get some milk and the Sunday paper.  I gave him $5.  He looked at me like I had sprouted a third eye.  “Really?  You think this is enough?”  He had a couple of bucks in his pocket and we decided the paper was more important than the milk if he had to choose.

He came back, laughing, with 1.78 litre jug of whole milk and the Sunday paper.  And he slapped some money down on the counter.  “When was the last time you bought milk AND a paper AND came home with folding change from a five??”

We are in Buffalo.  Jeff’s home town.  And I don’t want to say that he’s happy or anything, but no one over the age of 6 dreaming about Christmas presents to come sleeps with a smile THAT big on their face.

This is my second time in Buffalo, and I really like this city.  I always have.  It has an incredibly diverse and demanding cultural scene, it has more restaurants than you could eat at in a lifetime, and it’s where his family is so, all things told, this is a good time for us.

Look, I don’t want to sugar coat it too much.  As wonderful as it is to be close to his 90-year old parents (because I know how important it turned out to be to me to be close to my parents when first my mother got ill and died and then later when my father unexpectedly died), I miss my family being right at hand.  And I miss paying a lot of money for milk and newspapers.  Seriously.  Because I believe in what we try to do, balancing our safety net and public policy with opportunity and development.  I take the idea of sharing rights AND responsibility very seriously, and I’m not sure this country does.  We’ll see how it the off-term elections go.

I’m big on adventure, not.  I like to plan things out carefully.  I like to have contingency plans for my contingency plans.  I like to be prepared.  This was not about being prepared.  This was about needing to make a choice and moving forward and suddenly, I’m getting change for a five.  Which is okay.  But also a little scary and a little unnerving, and now I need to figure out what I’m doing next.  Which I can.  Which I will.

Hang in there with me.




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