Our ship had come into the port of Nassau in the Bahamas, where we’d been on a Christmas cruise with our friends as they cruised for the first time ever. We’d decided earlier that year to make Christmas about an experience and not about adding things to gather dust or end up in our attic museums.
We were making our way to the world famous straw market when a little boy, maybe around nine or ten years old, approached my friend, holding two identical wooden carved turtles with bauble heads and tails – one in each hand.
“Hey, pretty lady, you like to buy turtle?” he asked.
I saw the smile flash across her face, and the quick concern as she realized he was all alone without an adult in sight.
“I don’t know. Tell me about your turtles,” she said, looking around for a parent somewhere nearby.
“They’re ten dollar, but today I sell to you for five, but don’t tell my fodder if you see him.”
She drew near, in secrecy, looking closely at each turtle, considering which one to buy. One, it turned out, had a broken bauble tail. She bought the working one for a mere “five dollar.”
The kid smiled a wide, white-toothy smile, proud of his sale. We saw him glance over his shoulder toward the corner of a building.
“Okay, now, before you go running off, you might better show me which one is your father so I don’t go telling him about the deal,” she added.
Clearly, this took the kid by surprise. He hadn’t expected such clever detective skills from his turtle customer.
He thought for a moment, then pointed at the corner of the building to our left and whispered, “There he is.”
She waved at the kid’s fodder, and we resumed walking toward the straw market, a fresh five dollar dent in her wallet.
All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.