Michaela Merz

Generosity

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My youngest child is five. The spring holidays we spent in Ticino. Just marvellous. Apart from the fact that in German-speaking Switzerland the sun was shining all week long and brought the first tropic day with temperatures of 30°C. In Ticino it was raining like mad!! It was raining cats and dogs!! When the weather cleared a bit, we were bicycling with the effect that we got wet to our underpants and were completely frozen when we came back. Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun.

The evenings we spent at the Piazza in Ascona. We always sat outside, so that I could eat without hurry and my son could play with the other children hide-and-seek at the waterside or play tag, with short interruptions so that he could wolf down his pizza, pasta or risotto. And gone he was again. It was also raining in the evenings but we were hidden under a huge parasol (which should be better called umbrella).

He came asking for a scoop of ice cream. As we were sitting pretty lonely outside and all other guests were hiding inside from wind and rain, no waiter was in view. I took my son’s hand and we went inside. At the counter they offered ice cream. “Uno scopo fragola”, I ordered. „Please put it on the bill, we are sitting outside.“ The waiter nodded and gave us a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

The next evening we were there again for dinner. Max was playing with the other children and I was reading my newspaper. When I had finished reading, I looked around to see what the children were up to. But they were not there. I looked around, got up but could not see a single child. I started to worry. I got up and went looking for them.

I found them (about six of them) sitting behind a crane and eating ice cream.

“Where did you get the ice cream from?” I asked my son.

“I ordered it”, he answered placidly and continued eating.

“Where did you order it?” I wanted to know.

“In the restaurant”, he said.

“And the other children?” I wanted to know, becoming suspicious.

“I ordered for all of us, they were afraid”, he continued.

“And who paid?” I wanted to know.

“Nobody, ice cream is for free in this restaurant”, he informed me.

Of course I explained to him that this is not how it works. But in the end I was glad that he did not invite the entire restaurant for ice cream. The assurance to have a generous child was worth the few Francs.

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