How to Make Something Valuable

I bought a jug of maple syrup at the airport.

It’s not my usual maple syrup spot, but my flights were in winter storm topsy turvy and I needed something for a gracious last-minute host.

I slung the large jug onto the gift shop counter. It wasn’t the greatest grade of syrup, but it would gussy up pancakes and waffles well enough.

A man with short blonde hair walked to the register. He rang me up. We asked each other how our days were going. I went to stuff the maple syrup in my bag.

Wait, he said.

I looked at him, unsure. I’d already paid.

I need to put it in a bag, he told me. It could spill.

He pulled a thick plastic bag from underneath the counter and placed the jug in it. I went to take the bag, but he wasn’t done. With attentive hands, he twisted, wound, coiled the bag around the maple syrup, finally knotting it with a precise loop through the handle. Then he slid it to me in a way that could only be described as loving.

Oh, wow, I said to him. I appreciate that.

I cleared space in my bag and gently placed the oddly shaped package into it. And it occurred to me that what the blonde haired man behind the counter of the airport gift shop had shown me was that we make something valuable by caring for it.

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