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The Pickle Jar

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

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 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: 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 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. 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 other's 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

This story was sent to me by a friend. I do not know the author but I do think there is a very appropriate message in it for all of us. "Never underestimate the power of your actions". We can add to this or take it with a grain of salt. It is your choice on how you will affect another.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
PATTIE441 11/21/2012 7:14PM

    Oh girl! This is beautiful!! Thank you so much! YOU are beautiful!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 11/16/2012 2:23AM

    I'm with the rest who said tears were flowing as I read this! What a nice story! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MZKYND 11/13/2012 11:34AM

    Talk about turning on the waterworks, I was tearing up , what a great story, thanks for sharing

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WARMSPRINGDAY 11/10/2012 8:17AM

    Loved this! emoticon

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ADIOSALL 11/9/2012 6:22AM

    emoticon emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 11/9/2012 3:27AM

    Love it! emoticon

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CINDYWAGNER1 11/8/2012 9:05PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Thanks for sharing.

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FRAN0426 11/8/2012 2:56PM

    Thanks for sharing tthis wonderful story. DH and I haved always saved the spare coins in a different bottle for each type of coin, and when they get full usually put the money toward something we want.

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MNNICE 11/8/2012 11:13AM

    Beautiful - got tears in my eyes also.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 11/8/2012 11:02AM

    Make sure your actions help others, just like the coins in that jar.

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GABIBEAR 11/8/2012 10:33AM

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful story with everyone Eileen. I t bought tears to my eyes. Sometimes the simplest of all gestures have the most meaning!

emoticon emoticon

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RSSSLHB 11/8/2012 8:52AM


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JOANNS4 11/8/2012 7:48AM

    Thank you for sharing. Dh and I saved our change in a pickle jar for our Christmas tree when our five children were growing up.

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KOPSBABY 11/8/2012 6:58AM

    What a wonderful story. There's something wrong with you if you don't get choked up. Hope you don't mind if I use it at a church meeting sometime as a devotional. It has a wonderful meaning to it.

Thanks for sharing it.

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JUSTLLAMA 11/8/2012 3:06AM

    Love this every time I read it!

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    Thanks for sharing!

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2ABBYNORMAL 11/8/2012 12:57AM

    This is a wonderful story. It brought tears of happiness streaming from my eyes.

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1STATEOFDENIAL 11/8/2012 12:30AM

    Wow, what moving and inspirational story. I was already sobbing halfway through it. It's such a huge reminder that small change(s) adds up to big things! No one has to be perfect to accomplish good things. Supporting those we care about in ways that seem small do add up to incredible feats of giving.

To be honest, I was crying because my parents told me they would never pay for my college because that was my problem to figure out. My whole life they never believed that I could do anything even close to what my father did - accounting - let alone more than what he did. (My mother gave up working to spend her time complaining how everyone, especially me, was ruining her life.) I've always wished my parents would've done something special like this for me, showing they believed in me and wanted me to have a better life than they. To this day when I want to reach for the stars I'm belittled and berated.

Here's to a reminder that I can be better than they are. I have helped others in the past, and I will again. I also ask for help from others because I need it. And if all I can do to help someone else is through emotional support and kind words, I'll do what I can. Though now you've got me thinking again about doing bell ringing...

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GOOZLEBEAR 11/7/2012 10:55PM

    What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us.

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TXGRANDMA 11/7/2012 10:42PM

    Beautiful story! DH saves his coins in a pickle jar, too. It is in nearly the same place, by his nightstand in the bedroom........... emoticon for sharing!

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PAMNANGEL 11/7/2012 10:31PM

    My father put his change into coffee cans. Never did anything so altruistic, although from time to time I remember him giving me a can of coins. I still have the last can of coins.

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FIT4MEIN2013 11/7/2012 10:19PM

    emoticon I got literally choked up at that one. Thank you for sharing it.

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L*I*T*A* 11/7/2012 10:17PM

    emoticon emoticon

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COLIBRI1 11/7/2012 10:15PM

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!

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