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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

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 eatly 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
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."
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.
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 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.
God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God 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.

1,549 Posts
That reminds me of my dad -- he used to have a HUGE glass bottle with a small neck top that he'd always add coins to and when we rolled them it was a huge deal, all the kids got to help. And he always told us about how he put into it so many times and now look at all the money he had to take to the bank.
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