The Reluctant Daughter

Rafters enjoying a river floatStopping by a small grocery/convenience store/gas station/bar and restaurant on my way to deer camp, I had to yield to a young woman carrying 12-packs of beer to the cooler. She didn’t look happy about her assignment. I guessed her to be the owner’s reluctant daughter. Her age had to be 15 or 16; old enough to want to enjoy the summer although not old enough to borrow the car and get away.

Not that getting away is easy in a small village near a popular rafting river when your parents’ business involves supplying snacks and beverages for the rafting enthusiasts. Not easy when the nearest larger community, defined as having a fast food restaurant, is more than 30 miles away. And certainly not easy when there are few young men around to serve as boyfriends, or girlfriends to hang out with, either.

She seemed reluctant.

Dressed in shorts and a nice top, she had the look of a worker who wished she was doing something—anything—else. Mom was behind the counter, selling licenses to customers, ringing up  purchases, and explaining about the bathroom and when the van left for the tubing run. The daughter (I assumed the two were related because of their similar appearances), acted as if she had no choice in the matter.

It was Saturday. The weather was ideal for tubing down the river. The store was busy. The bar and restaurant were busy, too, so it was “all hands on deck”. Every available person was needed to help take care of customers and bring in the cash. After all, it is the family business!

I’m sure she got paid for sacrificing her Saturday, but that had little bearing on her reluctance to do any more than she had to…much less interact with the customers with a friendly smile and cheerful disposition.

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