To Ancestors

To Ancestors:

Thanks for living so that I could.

Because even when I don’t stop and look around, don’t realize that a particular cloud or a particular person is worth stopping and looking at, I have the chance to do so because of you.  You fought wars, lived in poverty, immigrated, went to school, worked on the railroad,  and woke up every morning so that I might make my own way.

If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been taking tickets at the theatre tonight.  I wouldn’t have had fifty cents to offer the lady who was short that amount.  I wouldn’t have been able to read The Great Gatsby in between customers.  I wouldn’t have been able to slip into a seat and watch Madagascar 3 in its entirety.  I wouldn’t have laughed aloud several times during the film, causing parents and children alike to turn and stare.  I wouldn’t have appreciated a family, who had arrived after I abandoned the ticket booth, and had walked in anyway, coming up post-movie to pay for their tickets.

After the film, I wouldn’t have reported to Ahab, the concessions master, that someone had spilled their Sierra Mist.  The 9 pm show had already begun, and Ahab put his hands on his hips and considered what to do.  The thought of a sticky river of soda pooling around unsuspecting ankles was horrifying.  We stood silently, imagining it.  Suddenly, the heavy Dyson vacuum, which had been leaning innocently against the wall, crashed to the floor, grazing Ahab’s calf on the way down.  We all jumped: Nick the projectionist, Stephanie the concessionist, Ahab, and me.  And then we laughed.  We laughed for about five minutes, hardly knowing what we were laughing at.

Thanks for that.

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