When I was a very small girl, it was one of my most favorite things when my daddy would take me on an errand with him. Going to town as we called it, was such a treat. And if I was lucky, I would receive an even better treat, candy!
My daddy would take me to one of his favorite corner markets. A small, red brick building, with a big sign that read JIFFY MARKET. Oh, how I loved to hear my dad say those words, “Let’s go to the Jiffy!”. He would put me up into his truck, where I would stand up in the middle of the seat, close to my daddy, so I could see everything going on. There were no laws that required car seats or even seat belts for children in those days.
When we got to the Jiffy Market, excitement would overcome me as soon as we pulled into the small parking lot. My daddy would take my hand and inside we would go. I of course wanted to go directly to the wire shelf display that held boxes of penny candy. I never forgot where it was located, at the front of the store, directly across from the cash register. My daddy would usually have something else he came for, so he would quickly pull me away and take me to another part of the market. Sometimes we would go to the back of the store where there was a walk-in cooler. It would be stocked with cartons of bottled pop. Coke being everyone in my family’s favorite. In the summer months, watermelons were kept ice cold in the cooler. I remember my daddy asking for the clerk to “plug” a watermelon for him so he could see how ripe it was. This was done by cutting a small square in the rind and then pulling it out of the melon. Most of the time, my daddy being picky about his melons, would ask for several to be plugged before he would decide on the one to buy. I remember the clerk looking aggravated, and myself feeling a little embarrassed. Did that bother my dad? Absolutely not! Very little phased my big, strong, boisterous daddy.
Finally, we would make it to the front counter to the cash register. This was my time to get what I wanted. All I needed to do was look up at my daddy, with eyes pleading. We rarely needed words. He would do just what I wanted and ask, “Do you want some candy today?”. I eagerly answered yes, and he would take his coin purse out of his pants pocket, and say “Let’s see what I have today”. Usually it would be several pennies, which would buy me several pieces of candy. But when I was lucky, he would give me a nickel! A nickel would buy a bigger piece of candy or many more than single pennies. Sometimes a nickel would buy 10 pieces of candy which would require I have my little paper bag to put it in. The nickel became my favorite coin. Later on, I would receive a nickel for a chore I had accomplished, or for a good grade on my report card.
Many, many years later, the nickels my daddy gave me became just a very fond memory. Something sweet from my childhood. Like the candy that they purchased. That was until, my dad passed away.
I was in my 40s and had already lost my mother 8 years earlier. My daddy’s death was expected, but devastating none the less. Both my parents were gone from earth now. I was no one’s little girl anymore. I went into a deep depression. I not only was now grieving my dad, but the old feelings of grief for my mom resurfaced as well. It was overwhelming at times to say the least.
One day I began to notice that I was picking up a lot of loose change from the floor. With my youngest daughter still living at home, and her being a waitress who received tips, the change was nothing unusual. I came up with the conclusion that she was dropping it when she emptied out her pockets doing laundry and shrugged it off. Then I began noticing that it wasn’t just pennies, nickels, and dimes. It was only nickels. Strange I thought. But still didn’t think much of it. Then I was watching a very interesting tv program. The program’s speaker was a woman who claimed to be a medium who could hear from people who had passed away and give messages to their loved ones. She began to talk about how our loved ones who have passed were constantly around us. And how they would try to get our attention or connect with us. She mentioned something that caught my attention. She explained that the dear departed would often leave loose change lying around. What? Yes, she said finding loose coins lying around the house was a sign they were present and trying to get our attention.
Now I don’t know if any of this stuff is real or not. My brain seems to short out whenever I try to work it that hard as to figure something so complex out. So, I avoid spending much time on such things. But I immediately thought of my daddy, and how significant him giving me a nickel had been at one time of my life. It was a special little thing, just between the two of us, that no one else knew about. It would make sense that he would leave nickels for me as a way of saying “I’m here”. And definitely something I could see my dad doing if it were possible!
I am now in my late 50s, I live all alone, and I am still finding nickels. Not pennies, not dimes, not quarters, but nickels. I found one the other day when I was unloading the washing machine. It was a brand new 2018. I looked at it and smiled, wondering if my dad would like the new look of our nickels, or if he would be like me and prefer the old way they looked instead. I kept that nickel and have it on my laptop as I write this story.
I know a lot of you are thinking that I just left a nickel in my clothing and it ended up in my washing machine. Well, what you don’t know is, I am not one to carry cash with me. Which means I rarely, if ever, have change in my pockets. So how did that nickel, all shiny and new, end up in my washing machine? See my dilemma?
I will continue to think of my daddy whenever I find a nickel, and will continue to let it flood my mind with wonderful memories of him, and put a huge smile on my face. There are far worse things I could do.
I love you Daddy. . Your JoJo.