The Old Pickle Jar

Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 02:26
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>> 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 to 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 thanme. 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: he 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 turnscuddling 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 mypocket, 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. 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.
>> God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.
>> Look for GOOD in others.
>> The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must
>> be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller
>> - Happy moments, praise God.
>> - Difficult moments, seek God.
>> - Quiet moments, worship God.
>> - Painful moments, trust God.
>> - Every moment, thank God.

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