A Surprise For A Little GirlMonday, October 17, 2011
Lauren is 9. I was younger, perhaps 7 or 8 when my mother would plunk me into the electric train that went from Belgrano R (where she taught high school and not far from the grammar school I went to) to Coghlan, a Buenos Aires suburb, where we lived. This was not often. My guess is that she had to stay after school for some important meeting. I was trusted to get on the train and to get off in the next stop. looked forward to this as Mercedes Basaldúa, our housekeeper would be waiting for me at the platform with a chocolate covered vanilla bar. Its brand name was Noel and Argentines called it a bombón helado. This was a treat and she would walk us home where if I were lucky there would be my most favourite carrot soufflé ready to be taken out of the oven and served with her spectacular milanesas (breaded veal cutlets). In those days there were still vestiges of the English train system (they had built our trains) mentality and perhaps due to the similarities between our Juan Domingo Perón and Benito Mussolini the trains ran on time and with a precision that Mercedes could buy the ice cream bar knowing I would arrive before it would melt.
It was in that spirit that Rosemary and I picked up Lauren (9) at school and we surprised her by telling her we were going to the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library (she loves the lower section for children and youths) but first we would have some crepes in the store that is on Robson and opposite the library. Everything happened as we wished it to. It was a pleasant afternoon. We arrived home and heated the chicken soup I had made in the morning and made everything ready for the arrival of Lauren’s mother and sister Rebecca (14) for a rare Monday family meal.
This time around Rosemary did not tell me how she had wasted her time and how she need not have accompanied me. She did not tell me that her time would have been more usefully had working in the gaden before the inevitable rains come. Just this once she listened when I told her, “Lauren will not be coming here every Monday and she is not going to be a little girl for long. Let us enjoy her as a little girl for as long as it lasts.”