I recently had the delightful pleasure of sharing a mini vacation with my daughter and grandson. It was the first airplane ride for the three year old and I was excited to be able to share it with him. The three of us sat at an airport café having snacks before our flight and my grandson proceeded to bend down and pick up something silver off the airport floor. All I could think of were germs, germs, germs! I didn’t have my glasses on but when I glanced at the coin, I thought it was just an old nickel. Normally, I might swipe it out of the young one’s fingers and get his hands washed right away. Yes, I guess I have a touch of a germ-o-phobe in me… about certain things, like coins on the ground – God only knows what invisible and sinister micro-organisms are lurking!
I don’t know who tucked the coin away and how it managed to travel with us, but it did. We arrived at our destination and it wasn’t until the next day or so that somehow the coin again resurfaced. My husband took one look at it and announced “it’s a silver dollar and it’s from 1979.” Wow, so the coin that I thought was a measly nickel was really a dollar; so, I took a closer look. It didn’t seem bigger than a quarter and I noticed copper in it so it wasn’t pure silver, but sure enough it was a dollar!
And then the memories started pouring in, all conjured up by the year, “1979”, and the fact that it was a “silver” dollar.
I stood there as if frozen in time, and I watched a movie unfold in my brain. The coin had conjured up memories.
1979, the year I met my husband on St. Patrick’s Day. 1979, the year my life changed and I met my knight in shining armour who swooped me onto his steed and into a whirlwind courtship. We were dating for only three months before we became engaged. Would I recommend that for everyone? Oh, heavens no. But it seemed to work for us and is still working 38 years later. It’s as if I “conjured” up his appearance, because shortly before I met my husband, I had become quite disillusioned with how romantic life had been going for me. I was only 25 so I was still a babe in the woods, yet I felt the clock ticking. It was like that back then in the 70s although many were starting to defer marriage and family for college and career. I had college and career under my belt and I was looking to the future. I had internally voiced a heartfelt prayer: “Dear Lord, I have come to the conclusion that the thing I want most in life is to serve a husband and family.” And then lo and behold, I was at a friend’s party and I saw a handsome gent walk in and he turned my head. A thought surfaced immediately as I sat on a bar stool in my friend’s party room, “Don’t get ahead of yourself. If you are meant to meet him, you will.” I would find out that evening that he was the brother of a new acquaintance of mine and from a big Irish family; and one who prized family, loyalty and clanship as much as I did. Everything in his clan was about family and sticking together. It seemed as if I met a match for me, and the rest is history. Of course some will say that my prayer and my future husband’s appearance shortly thereafter was all sheer coincidence; however, I still fancy the idea that magic occurs on this earthly realm, and I still fervently hold to the idea that a Higher Power heard my prayer and answered it!
As soon as those rumble-tumble roll of memories faded in my brain, a whole new set came pouring in, all inspired by that 1979 silver dollar. This time the words “silver dollar” conjured up memories and it’s something that I think about from time to time and work over in my brain, “what if?” You see, my Father had a collection of silver dollars he had been throwing into a small box in a dresser drawer. These did not contain copper, they were all silver. They were a beautiful sight to behold because one day, for sure, they were going to be considered rare and quite valuable. Otherwise, why wasn’t my Father spending them? The little box became quite heavy over the years and he must have been collecting them for a couple of decades.
So what happened to the silver dollars, one might ask? Did my dear Father sell them for double-triple their value? Did he bequeath them to grandchildren? Did he put them in a safe deposit box? No, none of the above. Every last coin was stolen. They were stolen by someone my Father hired to move the family to a new residence. Dad did not remove the box of silver dollars, trusting the operator he had hired, I guess. So when the furniture was in place in the new home, and my Father returned to the drawer at some point, the box of silver dollars was gone. Vanished. They were there prior to the move; and after the move, they were gone. Now, the reader might be guessing that the next step my Father took was to notify the moving company of the theft. This he did *not* do! For a long time, I could not understand why my Father didn’t report this crime. I recall that I was told that if my Father made a claim, someone could seek revenge on him and perhaps threaten his family. This may sound preposterous but for followers of modern crime (like my Mother was), it was not out of the ordinary to read in the newspapers about a worker returning to a residence with evil on the mind. My Father decided to stay mute. For many years, I couldn’t understand my Father not speaking up for himself and/or letting the company president know what had occurred. Wasn’t the owner of the moving company entitled to know that he/she had an employee who was a thief?!? My Father had made an informed decision to let it go. Whether or not I agreed with it, it was his decision and he felt he was doing the right thing.
Those cascading memories came flowing in due simply to my husband mentioning just a few words “oh, a silver dollar from 1979”. So I called it the conjuring coin, because of all the memories it conjured up.
These days I practice (I try!) the artful art of allowing people to make their own decisions. I don’t give advice unless asked, and I try to speak from my own experience. I also try not to act as the Higher Power for other people. And I don’t mind memories flowing in like an avalanche as long as I can detach, observe and be amused. Thoughts of regret still arrive at my mental doorstep, but thoughts of self-criticism and self-loathing are fewer and farther between. And this is the difference. Let those beautiful memories flow in – they are the stuff of which life is made – but stinkin-thinkn’ is something else, and that is what I prefer to keep at bay.
Here is my precious little silver miner – I can’t wait to see what he conjures up next:
May beautiful memories light your day,