Real Money?


I was in the store the other day and as I usually do, paid for my goodies with my Bankcard. I got back in my truck and it got me thinking when was the last time I used cash for anything and quite honestly, I couldn’t remember. I always have cash in my billfold, just in case, but generally, the only use that any of it gets is to give to some of the poor unfortunates that stand at just about every stop light in Austin. Even then it is limited to a couple of dollars unless they happen to have a dog in which case I give more. Gotta feed those pets most of which actually look in pretty good shape. It says a lot for human nature that they may be down on their luck but they look after their four legged friends. I was in Bastrop and had just stopped at the store when I noticed this homeless man and his dog sitting on the curb. I stopped and gave him a couple of dollars and a couple of cans of dog food that I had just bought. He couldn’t thank me enough for thinking of his four legged friend and was more grateful for that than the couple of bucks I had given him. This small gesture made my whole week.

I had already stopped at my Bank to enquire how I could turn in some loose change that I had collected over the years. Way back when in my working days, I was in the habit of turning out my pockets when I got home and depositing the loose change into various jars and containers. That started directly after my last and final wife moved on to greener pastures in 1992 as then I was able to control all of my actions including saving the loose change without fear of it disappearing.

This probably went on for more than 15 years until with the progression of time, I started to use the Bankcard and there was no more loose change to save. At one point, I purchased one of the little machines that would divide the change and put it into the paper rolls provided for this project. I kept this up for a few years and then got bored with the whole process and started to unload the change into any available receptacle which included some of the bowls and trophies that my soccer teams had won over the years, various vases and containers and even a 5 gallon plastic bucket from the local hardware store.

Eventually as I have stated, the whole thing came to an end with the advent of the Bankcard and the various containers that held both the rolled money and the loose change was scattered around all over the house including the spare bedroom. Then, last year, my friend George came back from England and stayed with me for a few days. In order to give him access to the bed in the spare bedroom, it required that we move some of the money containers from off the bed and the furniture. I’m glad there were two of us as those containers had gotten awful heavy over the years. It required George’s help to move them yet again, this time into my old home office which no longer sees any use other than to serve as a room for the  cat’s, at least when I still had cats. As the cats have all gone to Cat Heaven and I don’t intend to get more, now just one more empty room to collect stuff and dust. By the way, I love cats but having a doggy door for my canine friends makes it impossible to keep the cats indoors and safe away from the coyotes that inhabit the woods behind my house. My neighbors on both sides have lost pets to those critturs.

George moved on and I forgot about all of the loose change just laying around. Well, maybe I didn’t really forget but put it at the back of my mind as something to handle later..much later. It would probably have stayed that way if I hadn’t tripped over one of the trophies which being full of loose change, did not budge. Luckily, I managed to catch myself before taking a tumble and decided there and then that I had to do something about it. So, next time out,  as I mentioned before, I stopped at my Bank to enquire as to what I needed to do in order to transfer all of that money back to them. They explained that I had to get it to them however I could and they in turn, would take over the counting to credit my account with the total amount of which I had no idea. I don’t think they realized just how much of it there was.  Come to that, I don’t think I realized either…

Next day, feeling somewhat energetic and knowing what I needed to do, I set about locating a couple of 5 gallon plastic buckets that I just happened to have. They had previously been used on a fish rescue so I had to spend some time cleaning them with a scrub brush. They didn’t take long to dry in the 100 degree Texas sun and I brought them back inside and began to fill them with the contents of the various bowls and containers that currently held the loose coin. Needless to say, I never figured as to how heavy all of that change really was and put way too much in both buckets to where I could barely lift them let alone put them in my truck. So, back to the drawing board and this time, I located one of my Igloo type containers and filled it with the surplus loose change  from each bucket making sure that I only filled it enough to where I could still lift all three. This took care of all of the loose stuff but I still had all of the rolled coin to load. I found another container and carefully placed all of the rolled quarters into it testing it all the time to make sure I could lift it. I already had a wooden serving tray that was full of the other rolled denominations and was really very heavy for one man which was ready to load my truck. I struggled to get it loaded but eventually managed.

Since purchasing my truck, I have thought about this many times and have often wondered why the modern pick up truck is built so far off the ground and with such large wheels. It’s as though, the manufacturers expect all pick up drivers to be a minimum of six and half feet tall in order to load anything into the bed which of course makes it hard for us five foot eight (and shrinking) guys. Still, with a little ingenuity and a lot of cussing, I managed to get all of the containers out of the house, through the garage and onto the pick up truck. I managed to wrench the muscles in my upper arm as I was lifting one of the heavy containers which gave me a bit of a jolt but other than that, everything went fine.

I made my way to the bank and walked in the door and this young healthy looking male individual approached me and asked my business. I explained what I had in the truck and he volunteered to help me bring it all in. I was very glad of the help as my arm had stiffened up and was now more than a little sore. He actually carried in most of it as every time I turned around from dragging the containers from the back of the truck, he was back for another load.  Oh the strength and energy of a young body! We spent the next half hour first counting the rolled coin packages and then emptying all of the loose money into three very large and really heavy duty plastic bags that are made specifically for the job. Just like the sacks in the old time movies except now it is a modernized  version and the sacks are made of plastic.  I say WE but in reality, I just stood and watched although I did help with the coin pickup after we managed to spill some of the loose coin and there we were on our hands and knees picking it back up.

They gave me immediate credit for the rolls of coin which I had them transfer into my savings account figuring that now at least, it could collect interest as opposed to sitting at my house where all it collected was dust and took up space The loose coin in the plastic bags had to go to the Home Bank in San Antonio where they have machines that could count it to give me the credit again to my Savings account but it would take a couple of weeks. What’s a couple of weeks compared to the many years that it has sat at my house gathering dust and it is not like I was looking to spend it. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money along with the best of them but at eighty two years young, there is really not much that I need that I don’t already have and like I said before, I haven’t had a wife for twenty six years…

I should say that it was not just pennies that I collected. It was everything all the way through dollar pieces and there was a lot of loose change. You are probably wondering how much had I collected over the years. Lets just say, it was more than a couple of thousand dollars.  Like so many others, that sort of opportunity for me at least will never come around again as I no longer use cash and therefore no longer get loose change.

How times have changed in this modern world with our monetary transactions. If someone had told me twenty years ago that I would no longer have the need for money that I could feel and handle, I would not have believed them. But then again, there is a lot I would not have believed if I knew just what the future was going to be like.

That’s one more project to cross off my to do list and luckily for me, a one time job. For me, it will be interesting to see what the final numbers are after the bank count in San Antonio.

Written 8/2/2018