Sunday, January 23, 2011

J.O.Y. in My INBOX Today

Just opened up my email and found this email from my Poppa Bear. Just had to share! Totally brought me joy and put a lump in my throat as even though my parents didn't not have a physical pickle jar under their bed, they did diligently work very hard and lived frugally to make sure we three sisters had every opportunity to further our education. They even earnestly offered up that they would work two jobs each if it meant us being able to attend college. Love my parents for that! And so much more.

I hope this puts a little joy in your heart today as it did mine!

Here it is:                    The  Pickle Jar  

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 filled. 

I  used to squat on the floor in front of the jar  to 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 neatly 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 me.' 

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.'

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 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: he 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. 

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  

This truly touched my heart.  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 GOOD 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. 

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