A Few Pennies Here, A Few Pennies There (ms)

I am about to break the bank. Not a real bank, of course, for the law sends you away on extended vacations should you try to take one. No, my bank is much more accessible and far less trouble. I can break into it any time and take what I want for the money inside is all mine. Despite the ease of entry I enjoy I only go to my piggy bank once a year.

This is a piggy bank given to me by our son and daughter in law a few years ago and it is a hand painted little guy that I value even more than the money inside. I must say though by the end of the year that piggy has pulled in some pennies.

I learned a long time ago that if you saved five pennies you had a nickel, two nickels a dime and so on. When you think about it this is a remarkably simple notion yet one that can’t fail to work. Not a day goes by that I don’t have at least a few pennies in my pocket and they make a rather satisfying clink when dropped into my little pig. The smile on his face seems to get a little bigger when I feed him but perhaps that’s my imagination.

Anyway, in a custom I began years ago, I open the pig each autumn. There is no cracking, of course. He has a plug in his tummy and I work that out allowing the money inside to fall onto a table. I have a stack of coin rolls from the bank that I fill. The goal is to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for anyone I choose but when the holiday is over I owe nothing. It’s a good feeling to get up December 26th knowing that I don’t owe a penny for the gifts I bought, the Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve supper. I pay for it all with the pennies that grew into nickels, dimes and quarters.

Some friends of mine would never consider doing such a thing; for them coins are an annoyance. If it can’t be bought with plastic they won’t buy it for I doubt you could scrape together a dollar in real money between them. Now, I’m not above using plastic either but I am also the kind of guy who doesn’t let a penny in the parking lot go untouched. Yes, I’ve been known to stoop down to pick one up.

At one time, when our kids were very young, my change went into a pickle jar and together the three of us would open it come mid-October, count the money, roll it up and take it to the bank. This became a custom though I guess I’m the only one still following it. No matter.

I like to heft my little pig this time of year to see how much weight he’s put on. He is generally pleasingly plump and I like the sound he makes. It’s the sound of money mixed with the silence of a post Christmas credit card bill displaying zeroes where the balance should be. Now that, Dear Reader, is a happy tune.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on September 25, 2011.

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