“Now Tell Me Where You Keep Your Valuables”

When the man removed his hand, standing there in the shadows, my mother answered him. And this I remember as clearly as she enunciated it.

“I am a single working mother. I don’t have any valuables. I don’t have any money. My jewelry is all costume jewelry. Our silverware is made of stainless steel and that’s in a cabinet in the hall.

If you’re hungry, there’s a roast in the fridge.”

It was as if the intruder were a door-to-door salesman, and while my mother was very clearly not interested in what he was selling, she wasn’t going to be inhospitable about it.

From Erika Hall’s essay “The Roast in the Fridge,” on her mother, eminent domain, feminism, and being an outspoken woman.

Photo: brownbelt

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