Pickle Jar

ollieroseJuly 3, 2008

Such a nice story, I had to post it.

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor

beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed,

Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.

As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins

made as they were dropped into the jar . They landed with a merry jingle

when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull

thud as the jar was filled.

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the

copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the

sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad

would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to

the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production.

Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between

Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at

me hopefully. 'Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile

mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not

going to hold you back.'

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins

across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly

'These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all

his life like me.'

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice

cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the

clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me

the few coins nestled in his palm. 'When we get home, we'll start

filling the jar again.' He always let me drop the first coins into the

empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned

at each other. 'You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and

quarters,' he said. 'But you'll get there; I'll see to that.'

No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to

doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid

off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a

week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring

catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more

determined than ever to make a way out for me. 'When you finish

college, Son,' he told me, his eyes glistening, 'You'll never have to

eat beans again - unless you want to.'

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in

another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their

bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its

purpose and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the

dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words,

and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and

faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more

eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done. When I

married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly

pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more

than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we

spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to

each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild.

Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms.

'She probably needs to be changed,' she said, carrying the baby into my

parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living

room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading

me into the room. 'Look,' she said softly, her eyes directing me to a

spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it

had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already

covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my

pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions

choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that

Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes

locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one

of us could speak.

This truly touched my heart. I know it has yours as well.

Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count

our blessings.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small

gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse.

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lindaruzicka(Z6 PA)

that should come with a tissue alert!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Made me cry too!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:37PM
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Sorry you two! I should have posted the tear alert!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 9:58AM
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great read.
gotta go get a tissue,

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

What a wonderful story. I just went and posted it on another forum that could use a good heart warming story.

There is so much gloom and doom so many places it seems any more.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 2:47PM
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Lucky thing that I keep tissue next to the computer.. *snif*

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Will someone please pass me a tissue? -sniffle, sniffle-

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:08PM
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going to get a tissue, too.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:56PM
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