The Most Curmudgeonly Mother’s eyesight is fading as she enters her 85th year and there is one particular type of debris that falls to the floor in her home that she often cannot see.  When The Very Curmudgeonly Sister asked The Curmudgeon to look for and pick up that particular kind of debris on his next visit, she offered her brother a generous but wholly unnecessary incentive:  she said she would pay him $1 for every piece he found.

The Curmudgeon questioned the legitimacy of the offer.

As he reminded his sister, the three of them – mother, son, and daughter – visited a restaurant called the 94th Aero Squadron sometime in the mid-1980s.  The restaurant had an aviation theme and was rather dramatically located near the end of a runway at a regional airport that was used only for some shipping flights and by individuals who own their own planes.  When the salad course was served one of the three diners must have made a joke about the salads all having tomatoes, which none of them eat.  At this point The Very Curmudgeonly Sister issued a challenge to her brother:  eat a piece of tomato and she would pay him $1.

The Curmudgeon, probably being paid around $14,000 or $15,000 at the time at his first post-college job, quickly ate the piece of tomato.

And The Very Curmudgeonly Sister, then a college student, did not pay him.

Over the years The Curmudgeon has occasionally reminded his sister about this, and this seemed like the right occasion to do that yet again.  She rather disingenuously feigned no memory of the event, but her brother knows better.


The inscription reads “Paid in full.” The Curmudgeon begs to differ.

But the next time he saw her after the offer to pick up debris at mom’s house, somewhere around 35 years after the original event at the restaurant, she presented the pictured item to him.

To which The Curmudgeon replied:

“What, no interest?”

According to an online calculator, that $1 in 1984 is now worth $2.43.

While The Curmudgeon brought this to his sister’s attention, he suspects he should not hold his breath.

It could be another 35 years.

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