How Much Does A Moment Cost?

Can I have a moment of your time?  One moment he was there and the next... We will begin in just a moment.  One moment in time... One moment, please.

It all began today.  My son and his fiancé had their wedding shower. Reality came rushing in on me and I was washed ashore.  I got caught up in thoughts of Keith growing up too fast.  I was taken by the fact he should never have made it this far.  In far too many cases parents of kids with cancer never get to see this moment and yet there it was.

As Marianne and my family headed to participate in this wonderful ritual, I headed to the mall to do some shopping.  Marianne turns 41 on September 2nd and I hadn't purchased a thing for her birthday.  I absolutely love to shop for her.  I can't stand shopping with her.  I find what I want, including some incredible bargains, and then I'm out of there.  She takes forever.

I immediately found some beautiful outfits in the very first store and decided to have dinner in the mall food court.  There is a great Chinese restaurant located there and the owner, Eric Lee, is the most gracious business man I know.  He makes me feel important.  I needed that today.

In the center of the food court is a beautiful merry go round. With all the electronic video games, super roller coaster rides and virtual reality challenges today, there is nothing that replaces the thrill and excitement of riding atop a tiger, horse or fantasy creature. The wind in your face mixed with the sound of calliope music is still unmatched. Every time I eat there I sit right next to this magical machine and watch parent and child connect in a way no man made, futuristic electronic gizmo can.

Next to me sat a young girl and her Grandpa enjoying pizza.

"When are we going to ride the merry go round?" the child asked.

"Wait a moment! Finish your pizza first," replied Grandpa.

Minutes later I heard, "How about now, Grandpa?"

"Just a moment. I didn't finish my soda. Besides I don't think I have enough money with me. How much is the ride?"

"I'll go see." She ran over to the ticket booth and asked the young man.

"He said $1.50 each, Grandpa."

"A $1.50? I can remember riding a merry go round for a nickel!"

"Well, let's go. You're comin' with me, right?"

"I haven't been on a merry go round in years. I can't come with you."

"Oh, come on, Grandpa. I'll hold your hand."

"Just give me a moment," he said again.

"How long are your moments anyway grandpa? I thought a moment was a lot faster than this," the young girl said as she laid her head on the table.

Grandpa then looked over at me laughing and said "Hey! My time is valuable!"

The kid then sat up it said, "How much does a moment cost?"

"$3.00" replied Grandpa.

I jumped in and reminded Grandpa how valuable moments can be.

"My oldest son is getting married on October 6th. It was just yesterday he was that age. You know I'd give everything that I have for just one more moment like you have right now."

He smiled and said "Everything that you have?"

Perhaps I had no business saying that. But I wish someone had reminded me along the way.

They finally got up and headed for the ride. The little girl ran as fast as she could and grabbed this beautiful dragon with big white teeth and iridescent green body. Grandpa followed behind and sat on a bench passing up the chance to sit on a sleek white stallion next to the child.

"Come on Grandpa. Ride the horse. Please? Sing that song for me. The one about the broken merry go round."

"Oh no. I'm not singing alone," he said as he walked toward the child. He turned toward me looking for moral support. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Sing Grandpa, sing!"

The bell rang and Grandpa mounted the horse on the down movement. As they slowly began the magic circle Grandpa and Grandchild began to sing..."When the merry go round broke down, boop boop. It made an awful sound."

I knew this song. I grew up singing the very same one. When it comes to the second chorus we sang it slower until we all fell down.

"The lights went low, we both said "Oh!" and the merry go round went oomp pa pa, oomp pa pa...."

I was singing right along with them. What an incredible moment this was. In fact one they both needed to remember. I walked over to the ticket booth. "How much for a Photo?" I asked.


"What a bargain! Take a picture of the old man and the child."

"He said he didn't want one."

He just didn't know how valuable a moment was," I said.

I paid the man and told him to give them a copy. "Tell them that this moment was priceless."

I walked over to the far end of the food court as the ride came to a halt. Upon exiting the man handed Grandpa the picture. He looked at it and smiled. Looking around, he searched for me. Finally he saw me trying to look invisible.  He held it up and yelled "Everything that I have!"

I waved and continued shopping.

Think about how many moments you would like to re-live. How much would you pay? How fast is life passing you by? How many times did you say no when you should have said yes?  How many highways did you stay on because it was quicker and sacrificed the scenic route? How many times did you tell your child, "Just a moment." and never followed through?

My son could have died from cancer. He's getting married in October. I swear he was three just yesterday. My youngest son will be old enough to drive next year. I swear he just rode past me on his tricycle.

"How much does a moment cost? Everything that you have!"

I believe in you!"
by Bob Perks© 2001 



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