Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kid Watching

Wherever we go, one of us usually gets to sit on the golf cart with Loco; usually it's me. It's a great opportunity to sit and observe the world around me, and often I see something that makes me chuckle (sometimes discreetly because the thing I saw maybe didn't seem funny to the person it involved).

Familia Tomas sells things other than a full meal - liquid beans, soup broth, etc. Families that cannot afford the 90 pesos for a chicken dinner can afford the 5 pesos for the broth to make their own soup.

The other day I was sitting on the cart while Miguel was in buying our BBQ chicken dinner. Out came a young girl of about 6, carrying in her arms a plastic container of liquid - looked like beans. She had to be careful not to spill the liquid, but she no doubt had lots of practice, because as she walked she casually dipped her finger into the liquid and tasted it. And she continued to dip and taste all the way to her house down the road. Not sure her mother or siblings would have appreciated her dipping, but what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them.

Last night I was sitting on the cart while Miguel was buying his lottery tickets. Two young boys came by and immediately started petting Loco and asked his name. They had a small plastic car with them, with an empty large bottle for water on the seat. After playing with Loco a bit, they scooted the car across the road. One boy went upstairs to get the key to unlock the cooler down at the side of the road. He was small enough that the full bottle of water was a struggle for him, but he managed to switch the bottles and maneuver the full bottle back onto the car seat.

Something I've observed before is that nobody takes the keys back upstairs to the store. The clerk in the store hangs over the balcony and the customer throws the keys back up to the clerk. The small boy tossed the keys up, and missed by a long shot. The clerk grinned, and noticed me grinning, and we silently exchanged a smile that indicated tolerance for children. The young boy retrieved the keys and tossed them again - this time right into the hands of the clerk.

Transaction accomplished, the boys then tried to push the car back across the road, but they had a couple of problems. The car was now heavy, and the road was full of ruts, and the plastic front wheels on the car were splitting and collapsing - no longer round. But they pushed and pulled and succeeded in crossing the road, and then the bigger boy put his foot on the back of the car and gave it a mighty push and rode the car out of sight.

Right across the street from the lottery is a small hamburger stand, run by a single mom. She has three very nice boys - 16, 15, and 12, and each boy has chores to help with the business.

The oldest boy tends the stand with his mom during business hours. He squirts condiments into the small baggies that they put in with the orders. He packages the order and takes the money.

The middle boy carries things to and from the house, and sets up the table. I think he also cleans the glass on the front of the stand.

The youngest boy seems to do a lot of wandering around - he might be responsible for the cooler of drinks. Often when we go by later in the evening and ask where he is, he's sleeping or out playing soccer. But when he's not sleeping or off playing, he's lurking around, and he always stops what he's doing and comes over to visit with Loco. In fact, all three boys will come over and visit with Loco if we happen to go by before they open.

We have children as neighbors, and they have some small chores too. The youngest girl takes the garbage out. The middle boy helps his dad with the boat motors and trailers - the other day he was helping him move the heavy winch. The oldest girl is rarely seen these days - she's reached the age of 'coolness' and probably spends more time inside or out with friends. All three children run errands to the store.

Watching these children, I'm reminded of my own childhood during the summer months. Walking barefoot to the store to buy stuff for my mom, and an ice cream or penny candy treat for myself. Other than running to the store, I don't think I did much else to help out - summers were for swimming, running through the hose, popsicles and koolaid, riding bikes, and playing with friends. But watching the kids here as they perform their chores, they are making a game out of most of it too - fitting in play along with doing the work. Fun to watch!


Anonymous said...

i'm always impressed with the work that the kids do here. real work, as you say, not just pretend work. for instance, my gardener brings his young son with him to my house and the son helps bail up the cut grass to take home to feed their cow. the father told me he hopes that his son will have a better job when he grows up, but if not, at least he will have learned how to be a gardener. good thinking!

barb in the lake chapala area

Bennie said...

You summers sound a lot like mine. I don't think I did as many chores as the kids you describe. I'm sure I did some but I was all about the ice cream, playing in the sprinklers and swimming.

Sue said...

Barb - Hi, and thanks for commenting! You're right, I forgot about one child - the daughter of my cleaning lady. Gaby helps with fetching things, sweeping, taking out the garbage, and other things when she comes with her mom. And of course there are all those children on the beach with their moms who are peddling handicrafts - they bat their cute eyes and give a shy smile and many tourists are hooked and will buy something just because of the child.

Bennie - that was me too, until I was a teen. I was worthless except when it came to being a kid.