A few days ago at dusk, I noticed a girl selling eggs at the car park exit of our nearby department store. She was alone on the sidewalk in the dark, doing her duty on behalf of her family to bring home some money. I have occasionally noticed a grown woman there in the daytime too, doing the same. Her mother? I suppose so…
I had plenty of eggs at home, and really didn’t need more in that moment. However, something about a lone girl selling eggs in the dark got to me. In First World countries, at 6 pm many (although admittedly not all) children her age would be doing homework, watching TV or playing video games, and eating a solid dinner with no worries. This girl was not just selling eggs. At the age of (I estimate) ten, she was also carrying the family worry of having food and shelter for another day.
I stopped to ask her in Spanish how much for a flat of eggs. As I got closer, I noticed they were not common brown. They were a beautiful light green-turquoise, a color faintly reminiscent of a robin’s egg. Sweet childhood memories of springtime swiftly took hold of me as well. When I was a girl her age, I absolutely loved the April return of the robins to our backyard. Inevitably each year I would find a broken egg that had fallen from a nest, and I would always feel a pang for the baby robin that would never fly. Seeing this girl’s turquoise eggs was a tug from home.
She quoted a price, which was at least twice the normal for common brown. I asked her why. Her reply was rapid and my Spanish is not perfect, but I definitely picked out “verde”, so it was because they were green. I have never seen this color sold in the big stores, so I could easily surmise that verde is somewhat exotic. Still, I was reluctant…
After living for some years in Asia and South America, I have grown weary of at times being over charged compared to what the locals pay. My tolerance for it depends on both my need and mood. Also that particular evening, I had very little money left in my purse. I was down to a few coins.
I started to walk away, telling her “another time”. She was very gracious in her disappointment, with none of the whining or cajoling I have seen in other children required to sell things by their parents in poorer countries. Only a few steps into my retreat, I stopped and turned back. I asked her how much it would be for a dozen, so she quoted a price. I bought ten that were already bagged. I received a warm, sincere smile and “gracias” in return from the girl.
Upon arriving home, I did a quick internet search on egg colors. A blue or green egg is no more nutritious than white or brown. Various egg colors are due to breed of the chicken, and how the egg shell forms during fertilization and maturation. So I was not getting better eating value from a green egg, but I certainly was receiving the emotional payback of happy memories, plus helping a girl to support her family in the present.
You may notice in the pic that there are some pinholes at the end of the eggs. I have blown out the innards to eat, and the shells await decorating for Easter, tomorrow with a good friend and her mother. My own mother passed away some years ago, and I miss my family. So our little group of three women will engage in some warm camaraderie, with very likely some laughter and memories of Easters past.
I will come home with some decorated eggs that will beautify our sun room table. (I will be sure to post a pic of them this Easter weekend!) Needless to say, I am a fortunate woman and I know it. Those eggs will remind me of beauty that still exists in a world that lately too often feels ugly, and my own abundance when many struggle for the basics of living.
Most of all, they will remind me of the girl with the green eggs and her smile. I pray that her path in life will be a good one. Her fortune does not rest in my hands every day, but at least for a moment in time, a bit of it did.