Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lucky Jar

It’s a little late to be suggesting New Year’s resolutions, but a resolution can be made at any time, not just beginning on January 1.  For example, right this very minute I resolve to not leave my seat to get a cookie!  I would probably break that resolution in the next five minutes if there were actually cookies for me to get up and get.  I do have a suggestion though, for anyone interested in keeping a three-dimensional journal of sorts, and it’s fun.

I’ve mentioned countless times of the spare change I find, mostly pennies, I attribute to my mother sending me messages from heaven.  My sisters have similar things that happen to them so last Christmas, not this past one but the one before, the pesky sister made us jars to keep our found money in throughout the year.  I left it on a side counter with a wee pencil and pad given to me the same Christmas by the Godchild Number 1, and I took the exercise a step further.  Not only did I put my money in it, but I also used the tiny paper from the tiny pad and wrote myself little notes with the tiny pencil to remind me of my blessings.  I added the notes and other mementos to the jar throughout the year.  I call it my Lucky Jar. 

A few days ago I finally got around to emptying my 2015 jar and reminiscing over my year.  Here are some of my memories:

There are many notes such as:

January 2nd – “A lazy day. My cat loves me.” 

January 7th – “My work life is peaceful”.  Unbeknownst to me at the time only a few days later my work life went from peaceful to hellacious trying to balance two demanding job positions for the next nine months.  It was a relief to deliver that baby.

January 8th – “I saw the sparkles in the kitchen.”  Sparkles need no explanation. Either you see them or you don’t, and I prefer to say I do.

January 17th – “The Goldfinches are here!”  If I were to write that again this year I would have to make a comment like “the ground is moving” because we have so many they are impossible to count.

January 31st – “Lucky to have friends, good food, and the Mona Lisa and Moon Pie parade.”  

The note from February 7th has a pink puffy heart sticker given to me by a little girl at church who was sitting behind me.  How lucky was I that day?

March 5th - I won my first and ONLY game of nine-hole-golf.  Stacy’s house is lucky.

April 3rd - I saw my first live skunk, or at least I think it was.  It was in the back of the yard and it was dark, so I can’t be sure, but I thought it was important enough to write it down.

June 10th - I got to see the 6:00 a.m. deer crossing my yard.  They are so silent and stealthy it is always a treat to catch them.

August 22nd – “I bathed a cat”. My first and last time.  Sadly, she had to be put to sleep in December.  I miss her.

The notes dwindled over time because I was too tired from work to think about it.  But I left more in the jar than just notes.  There were ticket stubs from movies, concerts, raffles, and ball games.  My favorite was the ticket stub and a piece of red crepe paper from the Weird Al Yankovich concert my family attended in May, a birthday gift to my youngest.  My note on the stub says “Got to see them smile.”  It was a great night, and I regret there have not been more times like that over the years.

There are losing lottery tickets, five fortune cookie fortunes, sea shells from beach trips, a ribbon from a rice bag from a friend’s wedding, and a paper napkin from the Morning Call coffee shop in New Orleans from May.  We were in New Orleans that day to buy me a new phone, and took a detour from shopping to spend a few stolen moments with my husband's aunt, uncle, and cousins on their way to take his cousin Sheryl to the airport.  It was a good visit over beignets and coffee with good people we do not see as often as we should.

There are wristbands from ball games and a hospital stay.  There’s also a pink rubber wristband in honor breast cancer awareness I bought for students to wear in the university’s homecoming parade in October.  That was my last official event as their director, and I thought it was a great way to end my career in that role.  It was an exhausting but rewarding experience, but like I said, I was relieved when that overdue baby was finally born.

Oh, and then there’s the cash: 55 pennies, 12 dimes, and three quarters.  I also kept an Island View Casino Cashout Ticket for 11 cents because I refused to leave empty handed.

There’s a souvenir penny with the impression “I love you” I found in my couch.  No one will claim it was theirs, so I declare it was from Mama.  Also include is one Sacagawea dollar, a gift from my aunt when she moved to St. Louis.  As far as paper money goes I kept the $1.00 from my cousin Hope, seed money for my cousin, the Artist, and I to start our ice cream parlor.  It sounds nice, but it was actually a matching insult for the Artist telling the highly successfully CPA she could be our bookkeeper.  Last but not least is the $100 bill I found in an old purse before I tossed it in the donate pile. Mama watched out for me on that one!

One of the last things in my jar was a St. Louis souvenir tintype with the faded image of a man I think is my dad.  I found it my mother’s things, so it is probably him.  Even daddy found a way to send me a little gift.

Looking back over the contents of my last year I remembered fun times with exceptional people, and realized I had a pretty fine year after all. There were days when I was doubtful, but the proof is in the jar.  How many others received a puffy heart sticker from little girl, and found $100 in an old purse?  How lucky is that?  Not really.  Life is what you make of it, and if you want to feel fortunate then you have to look for the small things to make you happy.  My jar overflows.