a dare

On Saturday, my daughter and I drove into town to do a bunch of errands. First up, we stopped at the thrift store. I like to check in there whenever I can, just to see what’s in stock. This time, we found some water shoes for my daughter and a couple dress-up dresses. And then my daughter appeared from behind the shoe rack wearing an old lady wig. I hooted. Other customers chuckled. We bought the wig.

She’d put the wig on whenever we got into the car, but would take it off before going into any store. Every time I looked over at the passengers seat, there she was in her sunglasses and granny hair. It about did me in.

It was when we were pulling in the gas station, our next-to-last stop, that I got an idea. “Hey, you wear the wig and glasses into the grocery store and I’ll give you a quarter for the gum machine.”

Into the store? But everyone would look at me!” She looked at me incredulously.

“From the car to the car,” I said. “The whole time we’re in the store. It’ll be funny.”

“Fifty cents,” she countered.

“Okay, fifty cents,” I said.

“Seventy-five,” she shot back.


She waffled for a bit—but people will look at me! I’ll feel funny!—and then she grew steely. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

As we parked the car I said, “Just forget you’re wearing a wig and glasses and focus on the shopping. We don’t have a very long list.” I wasn’t sure who the pep talk was for—me or her.

being shriveled

We didn’t get very far into the store before a woman from our church passed us. She stopped and turned around. “Is that…one of your children?”

“It’s a dare,” I mouthed.

“I’m not going to say anything else,” she laughed, and walked on.

We ran into another friend in the dairy aisle. In the middle of preliminary greetings, she suddenly looked over and spied my girl.

“Oh my word!” she shrieked. That is perfect! I love it! Can I have it? I’m going to a 40th birthday party today and I need that!”

She made plans to pick it up later that day (though she never did then), and then, as we headed off in different directions, she leaned over to my daughter and said, “You age so well!”

We made it through the store without further incident. No one else made a peep. Maybe prematurely gray ten-year-old girls are more common than I realized?

In the check out line, my girl picked out two airheads for her reward. She gave me a taste of each.

This same time, years previous: Kate’s enchiladas, my boy children, old-fashioned vanilla ice cream, making art


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