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Friday, April 2, 2010

You Should Always Check Your Backseat

I found a quarter and four pennies on my way to the bus stop this morning. Would you believe I picked up all five coins?

You would?

Yeah, there are a lot of people who would’ve left those pennies. I’m fully aware of that, thank you. The thing is, those people would have only 25 cents, whereas I now have 29 cents.

It’s not much in the short term, but talk to me in a couple years.

I’ll be rich. Rich, I tell you!

Speaking of the walk to the bus stop, followed by the inevitable bus ride, what does my iPod have to say about the weekend?

To quickly recap the last, oh, almost three years, I’ve gotten it into my thick-haired and bespectacled head that the songs played on my Friday morning’s commute have something to do with what will happen during my weekend.

Don’t spoil it for me, now! Be a sport and play along!

Electric Feel by MGMT
Mongoloid by Devo
I Just Want to Celebrate by Rare Earth
I Would Never Wanna be Young Again by Gogol Bordello
Hem of Your Garment by Cake
Tell Me in the Morning by Cold War Kids
Der Kommisar by After The Fire

To me it looks like it’s all the things I normally think.

Plus a margarita. I feel there’s a margarita hidden in there somewhere.

So! Maybe a light story before we all hit the weekend?

When we were all much younger, my father, the King of Clean and Semi-Lame Jokes, had a hard time expressing affection verbally; so rather than tell you how he felt, he would feed you.

Food is love, yes?

Consider the family dinners in your past: Thanksgivings loaded with pies and gravies and those little home-made mints; Easters with hams and asparagus; late-night silliness with Redi-Whip and pickled pork hocks.

I moved out of my parents’ house less than a month after high school graduation, whereupon I graduated to previously unconsidered poverty.

Who moves out with a mattress, a full-length mirror, and a towel? Well, me, for one. Not that it felt that way at first! But within a couple of years, and after the birth of my boy, the need for groceries on a regular basis became apparent.

What? Ask for help? What are you, nuts?

Tuesdays and Thursdays were meatless days, and I had a vegetable garden – The Boy learned early to pick green beans, to eat tomatoes warm while still standing next to the plants, to eat peas whole and in the pod. Still, there was never enough food.

My father caught on to the fact that there could be more in the fridge at my house. Perhaps because my head was always in theirs whenever I dropped in.

It’s just a hunch.

And so it came to be that I started to “find” things in my car following these visits.

The first time, I found a twenty crammed into the crease of the passenger seat.

After that, there were mysterious grocery bags in my backseat. Potatoes, onions, jars of marinated artichoke hearts, sticks of pepperoni, and other various and sundry items appeared without comment.

I suspected my father; and it was proven when I found in a grocery bag in the backseat – mid-July, mind you! – a stick of butter atop a roll of toilet paper.

There’s nothing really to say about that, but I did have the softest bottom for a while…

This went on for almost two years. We have never discussed this, although I did once leave a note taped to his windshield.

“I discover the weirdest things in my car.”

Some things are easy to find.

Twenty-nine cents in the street springs to mind.

And some things are found only upon reflection.

Thanks, Dad.


Charlotte Ann said...

OH! I do the same thing for my daughter. Food, diapers, cars....lol...

blueviolet said...

If nobody is looking, I'll pick up the pennies. I feel like a weirdo if someone sees me diving for a red cent.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Dads can be wonderful, can't they? After my divorce and with 2 kids, it took all my paycheck to make ends meet. Dad frequently would check out the house and make mental notes on what had to be repaired, etc. One day I came home from work to find that he had bought and installed a new water heater and hauled away the old one. I never even knew it was in need of repair. This happened frequently but the water heater was the most expensive item he replaced.

Pearl said...

CHarlotte, we can't help but want to help the little buggers, especially if we've been there ourselves!

Blueiolet, yeah, that lone penny is going to stay an orphan, but if it's next to a couple more pennies or a nickel?! Look out!

Golden to Silver Val, Oh, there's nothing as lovely as a handyman who loves you!

Joanie M said...

Every time I find a coin I think of my mom. She found money nearly every time she left the house. So now, when I find a coin, I smile and say Hi Mom!

Willoughby said...

If I added up all the pennies I've found in my lifetime, I'd probably have about 50 cents. I've always picked them up because it's supposed to bring good luck. I'll get back to you if I ever have any!

I love the story about your dad. My dad is like that, too. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

Margaritas? What a fabulous idea!

savannah said...

*sigh* that was a perfect story for today, sugar! (i pick up coins, too, btw) in my car, if change falls on the mat it stays there until right before i clean the car, i've collected close to 5usd in one sweep! and since i quit smoking, change goes into the ashtray when i hit the krispy kreme drive-thru... xoxoox

Pearl said...

Joanie, I really like that.

Willoughby, thoughtful fathers. :-) We were lucky, yes?
I understand I have a package at my house! I'm so excited!!
Oh, and margaritas? Anything involving limes and salt is always good -- and a little tequila doesn't hurt either.

Pearl said...

Savannah, oooh, there were dozens of Krispy Kremes in Mpls for a while and now I'm not even sure where one is! Oh, MAN those things were good!
I'm glad you liked the story. Maybe I should tell my dad I've written about him. Again. :-)

Anya said...

Funny post :-)

Have a Happy Easter


ellen abbott said...

When we were first married and the kids were little and we were daily slipping into deeper and deeper debt, we would go every Sunday to visit his grandparents. We always left with a bag of groceries.

Oh and I pick up pennies too. foolish people who have never been poor.

powdergirl said...

Hey Penny Pinchin' Pearl,

A girl can consider herself very lucky if she gets one of the good Dads.

About that tequila, I know its only 8 in the morning, but they don't call this Good Friday for nothing, right?

Jodie Kash said...

I have an odd relationship with found money. Whether a penny or a sawbuck, I must pick it up because if I don't the money Gods will think I have little respect for tender and take all mine.

I know.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I love any "My Dad Was Awesome" stories because my Dad was awesome also. One Christmas we had no toys because our boxes hadn't arrived in Europe yet. He went out that day to find something, anything, to give us. He returned with two large chocoate bars with these creepy little trolls tied to them and a whole set of World Book Encyclopedias. He had ordered those month ago and while stopping in at work found them there. We has two weeks of the best times as he taught us about everything in those books. By January we could name any cat and dog breed you liked, knew the map of the world and could point out the appendix (or was that the penis) on the clear human figure. He was great that way. He was always making learning fun for us. We could kill a person and he would help hide the body, however, if you sassed back to a teacher you had to deal with him.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Loved this. I once scored about $6 in between the seats of a roller coaster. It was a good day.

Funny I talked about my backseat today too!

I'm going go have kind thoughts about my dad today, thank you.

Patricia said...

I have another friend who has a contest with her mom every year to see how much change they can find on the street. They've been doing it for years. I think the most she's found in one year was like $14.26.

But, um, I'm not sure how to respond to the butter and toilet paper.

Happy weekend, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I celebrate anyone who has Gogol Bordello on their iPod. So congrats! :)

mapstew said...

Well that was just a beautiful story! :¬)


Cloudia said...

I'm with you!

Aloha from Hawaii my Friend

Comfort Spiral

Yodood said...

Thanks for mentioning the treasure to be discovered in memory — and so well.

Not The Rockefellers said...

Your ipod is righteous and so is mine by association.

You know those pennies are from your Dad, right? :)

Would love to play king of the mall with you sometime..person who finds the most change (legally of course) along the floors of the mall is "king of the mall" I'm reigning king at $2.76
so far ...

Peace ~ Rene

Mr. Shife said...

Very cool story, Pearl. Thanks for sharing. I hope that you have a great weekend and looking at those songs I most certainly think you will. And every fortune begins somewhere so why not with 29 cents. Take care.

Tempo said...

I'm not really suprised that other parents do this too..we love our kids and only want the best for you.
My trick is to turn up with things I bought 'On Special'.. Yeah right..I dont think my daughters are fooled for one minute either!
As for finding money, my dad was an accountant and taught us that if you look after the pennies, the dollars look after themselves.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Oh yes, love is expressed in feeding people. Take my mother-in-law. Please.

sage said...

I moved out early too. I was on my own, working full time and going to college and trying to put my wife at the time through college... we got by, but once I got sick and the doctor's bill just about broke the bank, but then my parents decided to come over and brought bags of groceries with plenty of fluids (a couple 1/2 gallons of orange juice and some cokes) along with fruit and other food items. I still remember it, like mannon from the sky.

And yes, I'd pick up the quarter and pennies, too. But thank God for those who don't, they leave more for those who do!

Ruthibelle said...

awww.. your daddy was being thoughtful! Nice.

CatLadyLarew said...

After years of living far away from and not taking any help from my parents, my dad sent me a couple of checks while I was unemployed without my asking. Boy, did that ever help out... and make me feel loved.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I hoard pennies when I'm in one of my hoarding moods, which is often. However, today, I actually threw some of them out. And now I'm starting to regret it.

Teena in Toronto said...

I'll leave pennies ... but anything more than a quarter, I'll pick up.