Monday, May 7, 2007

NPR - Common Sense

I carry several dollar coins in my pocket, including these two. These were a gift from my maternal grandmother over 30 years ago. I never really knew my maternal grandfather, he died in the early 1950's, so I only know him from stories. This saddens me as I would have like to have spoken with him about his life. Like many people with an interesting life, they die taking their experience with them. And why with him?

Well, three of my grandparents were immigrants from Europe about 1910. Granddad Miller was German, who's name originally was Muller. He came over to the US to join the US Army and go back to fight the Kaiser. After the war he ended up in Boise, Idaho, working in the Post Office, and eventually rose the to position of Chief Postmaster for Boise. During his time, he met and married a young socialite from Soda Springs, and built a home and a family.

From some reason, which no one ever explained why he carried these two silver dollars in his pocket. I can only surmise the 1881 dollar was one of the first he got after coming to the US, and the second is a guess since it's dated 1925. There was nothing important that I could find in my grandparent's life that year, but I'm sure it had some relevance to his life. I'll never know.

Anyway, my grandmother kept them until the early 1970's when she walked up to me, put them in my hand, and said, "He carried these as long as I can remember, until his death. Now it's your turn to carry them." Well, I've carried them for years, put them away for years, and about 5 years ago started carrying them again. They're a great conversation piece, you know when someone asks if you have change and you put all your coins on the table, out pops two large, well-worn silver dollars.

And I love carrying them to feel a real coins. I also carry a 1974 Eisenhower dollar along with the first coin I got of the last three US dollar coins.

Somehow, they just don't compare. They're too easy to confuse with quarters and lose to machines which now take them. So to prevent that I don't carry other new dollars and always take all the coins out of my pocket and put the six dollar coins back in, leaving everything else in my hand.

Sometimes, it's just smart to carry common sense in your pocket. And I'll never confuse the real silver dollars and the history of those who held them with other coins.

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