It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Part 3 of 3: The Pickle Jar


(Here’s a great little piece from that famous author, Anonymous. As a first-generation college student, I can also identify with having parents who sacrificed much to give their children as many opportunities in life as possible. It’s interesting to consider how my folks (perhaps yours, too) likely would not have considered it a sacrifice at all, but rather a wise and solid investment.—James Sutton)


When I married, I told Susan about the pickle jar and its impact on my life. It defined just how much my father loved me.

Even during the summer when Dad was laid off from the mill, and Mama served beans several times a week, not a cent was taken from the pickle jar. To the contrary, it seemed to make Dad even more resolute. “Son, when you finish college, you’ll never have to eat beans again … unless you want to.”

We spent the holiday with my parents the first Christmas after our daughter, Jessica, was born. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat on the couch and took turns cuddling their first grandchild. The baby began to whimper, so Susan took her into the bedroom to change her.

When Susan returned, there was a strange look on her face. She handed Jessica to Dad, reached for my hand, and led me into my parents’ bedroom. “Look,” she said, pointing to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. The pickle jar was back, as if it had never left its spot. The bottom was already covered with coins. I took the change from my pocket and, with a gamut of emotions choking me, dropped the coins into the jar.

I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes met. I knew we were sharing the emotion of that moment. Neither of us could speak.

Nor did we need to.


July 22, 2006 - Posted by | Inspirational, Parents

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