I was walking up to the door of the grocery store some time ago at the same time three or four youngsters were coming out. They were boys, friends of about twelve or maybe they had crossed that so very important line to becoming teenagers. Remember that line. When at the important age of 13 you discovered you knew everything there was to know about everything, more than anyone else? Anyway these young men, the next generation, the ones I was working hard to leave the world in a better state for than my predecessors, were just being young. That is to say they were horsing around, just small town kids. Laughing and talking and maybe a little giddy with anticipation about the fact that they were about to gobble down a sack full of Twinkies, red vines and soda, or maybe a Red Bull or two. I liked seeing them. They were having fun.
Then it happened.
The blonde kid dropped some of his changed from the purchase he had just made. The coins tinkled on the ground and scattered like a group of blackbirds that had just noticed a cat approaching. The boys looked at each other and laughed, one of them, the tallest one wearing a $50.00 Cabela’s embossed t-shirt kicked at one of the coins, kind of skipping over it and continuing on up the street in the opposite direction away from the store and me and the money. The three other future leaders of the world laughed at the Cabela boy’s antics then they too zipped up the street to go on with their young lives. Leaving the money, coins, moo-lah, stuff dreams are made of. Right there, on the sidewalk. Kicking their Nike, Reebok and Air Jordan covered feet at the small shiny coins like they were nothing more than clods of dirt. Not worth the time or energy to pick them up. I was, after I got over the shock of seeing these playful youngsters just walking over and away from money——delighted.
To me it was like winning the lottery. Yahoo. FREE MONEY! I was not too proud to stop in my tracks, bend over six times and pick up every coin. There were two nickels and four pennies. As I was gathering the booty no less than three other patrons went in and out of the store. I paid no mind to them as I was gathering my loot. Upon my sixth up-righting I felt elated and a little light headed. I marched in to the store knowing that no matter what I bought, fourteen cents of it would be free. What a day it was.
My money scrounging is not new. As I recall, my money collecting may have started when I was a little younger than the boys I gleaned fourteen cents from outside of our local grocery store. My friend, Sheryl and I were wasting time in a Woothworth 5 and 10 cent store one sunny summer afternoon way back in the 1960’s and decided we wanted a coke from the lunch counter which at that time was inside the store. Well we found we were a few cents short. It was our mission to walk up and down the aisles of that store until at last we had picked up enough discarded change to satisfy our thirst. I can still feel the pleasure of finding that money. I really think Sheryl found it but I was an accomplice. I’m not ashamed to say, “I like free money!”
Just one more little notation I would like to mention. As my husband walks with the aid of a cane and occasionally a mobility scooter he points out pennies on the ground to me and I have dutifully bent over and pick up each find with glee. Until one day in a motel parking lot he spotted a quarter and nearly knocked me over getting to it. “No more buster,” I informed him. The gloves are off. I’m putting tape on my fingers to get ahead of him as he now has added a three foot reaching tool to his arsenal. It’s every man ‘er uh woman for themselves.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org