Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Horse Picture

When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, my mom worked as both a Montessori school teacher, and because we all know how well teaching pays (esp a private school), she also worked at a local restaurant. The restaurant, as I remember it, was next door to a small art gallery, where they sold paintings by local artists. I'm not sure how we ended up going inside the gallery, but we did, and I fell in love with one of the paintings. It was of two horses, running in a field, and it was painted on a piece of wood. My love of horses knew no bounds, and this was the perfect painting. I was in love. The problem? The painting was expensive. It was $16.55. This was the early 70s, and $16.55 was a lot of money. My allowance was $0.75 a week.

My other love at the time was a dessert that they served at the restaurant where my mom worked. It was called a "European Iced Chocolate", and I think it was a tall glass with chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and some whipped cream. Sort of like a chocolate chocolate float, maybe. I'm not sure what made it 'European', but I sure loved them. Yummy. (That's when I was in my chocolate phase...all chocolate, all the time!) They were $0.50, and if I bought one with my allowance, I had to leave the other $0.25 as a tip for the waitress. My mother didn't want to raise stingy children. ;)

I was definitely in the habit of taking my $0.75 to the restaurant every week. But I also REALLY wanted that picture. My mom decided that $16.55 was just too much for a 7 or 8 year old to have to come up with, so she paid $10 to the gallery, and they put the picture on layaway for me. For you whippersnappers who may not know what layaway is, you put down part of the money up front, and then you make payments towards your desired object. I don't remember if I saved the $6.55 up and paid it all at once, but I kind of remember going in every week and giving them my $0.75. There I was, right next to the restaurant. The European Iced Chocolate was CALLING to me. I had to have it. But I also had to have that painting. So I resisted. For over 2 months, I resisted. It was a difficult two months.

Finally, the day came, and I was able to purchase my painting. I was SO proud of myself. So proud that I had saved that long, an eternity to a child. That I had foregone the delicacy that was a European Iced Chocolate for over 8 weeks. Amazing.
On the day when we finally went to get the picture, the woman behind the counter wrapped it carefully for me, and treated me with as much respect as any adult customer. Then my mom took me next door, and bought me a European Iced Chocolate to celebrate. That was probably the best one I ever had. :)

A year or so ago, I realized that I could probably make them at home, seeing as how they sell chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and whipped cream at Safeway. Not sure why it took me this long to figure it out, but c'est la vie, eh? So, just the other night, we had them for dessert. Yum.

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