Today I will take yet another jar of coins to the bank. The jar is heavy; it is one of more than twenty such jars. My bank offers a cool money counting machine that takes my coins and produces a receipt, which I then take to the teller for deposit into my account. I have been taking these jars to perform this activity every day for the past few days.
Yesterday, as I lifted the heavy pickle jar up to pour the coins into the mouth of the beast, I was caught by the realization of what I held in my hands, and was pouring from the jar. These jars of coins are the fruit of probably 50 years of exercise.
Every day of his life, my father-in-law took his “walk”. His walk took him through the small streets of Woodruff, SC, down through the parking lots, and past the shops on Main Street. And always, though he looked all around to greet those he met along his route, he never let a coin miss his eye!
When he returned home each day, he slipped the coins collected into his “current jar.” Sometimes, though rarely, dollar bills were found and even the occasional $5, $10, or $20 bill. All went into the jar. Each jar was filled to capacity before being stored in his “safe” (home-made within his basement work table) for a “rainy” day.
On rainy days, when gardening was not an option, Bud would go into the basement and spend some time sorting through his coins, putting his collectible ones into a special container, separating nickels and dimes, from pennies and quarters, and generally “working” his coins.
On August 30, 2006, Bud passed away. He was 81 and was still going strong, when his doctor told him he needed stents put in his heart. Upon arriving for the procedure, they discovered his blockages required open heart surgery (double by-pass), which he underwent on August 28, 2006. Though the surgery went as well as could be expected, the reality of his heart was revealed. He should NEVER have been able to live for the past 20 years. His heart was in no condition to sustain life. And yet his had.
With each step, and each stoop to pick up a coin from his path, Bud lived the old adage,
“See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck!”
So far, the monetary value of his daily exercise has tallied over $5000.00. What the teller at the bank sees as I make these deposits is a listing from the machine of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars, tallied and totaled on a single receipt.
What I see is the years of exercise, the smiles and words shared with those he met along his way, the care tending to the coins accidentally discarded by others, the jingle in his pocket and smile on his face as he returned from his daily walks and the love he had for his family, ensuring he saved every penny he found, making him lucky enough to share years with them his heart was not equipped to live.