Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pickle Jar

I received this in an email. Sort of one of those chain letters that you're supposed to pass along. I found it so beautiful that I did want to share it, but not in the form of other emails that people felt compelled to send on to someone else. I'd love to know who wrote it, because it truly is a piece of my own past. Coby and I have our own Pickle Jar for the grandkids. Every night we empty our change into it, and when it's full we take it to the bank. Caitlynn loves to put money in the jar, and when she comes over and sees it we usually have to dig up some change for her. I hope you enjoy it.

The Pickle Jar

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


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

- Happy moments, praise God.

- Difficult moments, seek God.

- Quiet moments, worship God.

- Painful moments, trust God.

- Every moment, thank God.

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