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A Manner of Speaking Sep/Oct '97

by Bonnie Neugebauer
September/October 1997
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5011796/

A little bit this way. A little bit that. She carefully arranged her tie-dyed scarf over the upturned yellow milk crate. It was a bright sunny morning, the first day of the Fremont Street Fair, and five year old Luisa was preparing to polish fingernails. Not immediately recognizing my potential as a customer, she muttered as she shifted the three bottles of polish, "Won't anybody stop?"

"Would you like to polish my nails?"

"Yes!"

"Well, how much do you charge?"

"Fifty cents."

"Let me see what I have. Oh, I only have a dollar."

"That's okay!"

Wind blew her money around until we figured out which pocket to put it in. And there was a bit of confusion about the seating arrangement - we had only one chair at first. But eventually we ironed out all the logistics and settled to the task.

"What color would you like?"

"Oh, that dark rose that you are wearing would be lovely."

As Luisa began carefully applying polish, one laborious stroke at a time, and as the polish caked up in the breeze, I must admit that I looked at my watch and contemplated the sheer number of my fingers. I stifled a sigh. What had I gotten myself into?

We chatted as Luisa worked. ...

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