A MEMORY COIN

Sara Teasdale wrote one of my favorite poems.

THE COIN

Into my heart’s treasury

I slipped a coin

That time cannot take

Nor a thief purloin,

Oh better than the minting

Of a Gold crowned King

Is the safe kept memory

Of a lovely thing.

The following vignette is the first of the many coins in my heart’s treasury.

It was a beautiful summer day in Wisconsin and I was about to embark on my first solo bike hike to Lighthouse Rock and Fish Hatchery Creek, about four miles from our home. Before she left to run errands, Mama had provided a rare treat of bologna for my sandwich and I had spent ten cents of my allowance on a bottle of orange pop. With potato chips and carrot sticks, it was a lunch fit for a queen.

Dad was a pastor. I knew that he was next door, in his office at the church, writing his sermon. I biked over to let him know that I was leaving.

I coasted down Hospital Hill to the country road that would take me to my picnic place. I pedaled along, warmed by the sun, delighting in the smell of the hay fields. The birds were singing. I watched as some horses grazed while their colts cavorted around the pasture.

When I finally reached my destination, I followed Fish Hatchery Creek to a huge old oak tree that had a large branch stretched across the water. It was the perfect place for my perfect picnic. Climbing out on the branch, I reached into my brown paper bag for the bottle opener.

Good Grief! I was holding a bag of string beans!! Some farmer from our congregation had apparently set them on the kitchen counter when he didn’t find my mother at home. Where was my lunch? What now?

A family from our congregation lived just across the road so I rode over, knocked on the door, and asked to use their phone. Knowing that my mom wasn’t home, I called my dad at the church and told him what had happened. “It’s just about time for my lunch break,” Dad said. “So I’ll just bring your lunch out to you.” Daddy saved my picnic.

Boy was I glad when I saw his Hudson chugging down the road. Daddy pulled in and handed my lunch out the window. I watched as he grabbed another brown bag off the seat and got out of the car. “What are you doing?” I asked.

Daddy smiled and answered, “You don’t think I’d drive all the way out here and let my girl eat all alone, do you?”

We went back to the oak tree and Daddy, in his suit and tie, climbed out on the limb with me.

We had a lovely lunch,(another gold coin). I hold the memory in my heart’s treasury.

Ellen Bruns Christensen (Nov-Dec.’06) adds, “I was so full of happy I thought I would burst!”

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