July/August 2013 Everything's Relative
Down the Drain
It was 1932. As the saying goes, times were tough. We always had a car so my father could develop his new fire equipment business. We always had something to eat and a warm, dry place to live. But being in business for yourself was an uncertain life. The income, if there was any, fluctuated with the season, the economy and a million other factors. My mother wasn’t happy with this. She would have preferred that my father’s job come with a steady paycheck and set hours.

One day we stopped at the gas station while driving around doing errands. My father had just taken a piece of gum out of his pocket. When he reached into his pocket again to pay for the gas, the $5 bill that had been there was gone. There must have been a moment of fumbling, then panic. My mother shouted in a strangled voice that he must have accidentally thrown it out with the gum wrapper. We sped away, leaving the station attendant there in shocked surprise.