Sunday, March 21, 2010

Found Money

I posted earlier about finding two fifty dollar bills when I was a kid. I snatched them up, ran home and unfolded them only to find they were political ads. That probably had a lot to do with my cynical take on money and politics. We are the sum total of our experiences.

As desperate as I’ve always been financially, I’ve found a lot of money over the years.

More than once, as a kid, I found a five dollar bill on a lower candy shelf in the check out line at a supermarket.

When I was twelve, my mother and I were walking on Lindell Avenue. We were coming down the hill from Grand Avenue to our West End apartment. I saw two dollar bills blowing up the gutter. I grabbed them. Two blocks later my mom confessed she couldn’t take her eyes off the gutter. Maybe more would blow by. I was doing the same thing.

In the 80s my girlfriend Joanie and I did a lot of traveling. We always left after work so it was late. Most of the time we had chemical help staying awake. Our friends Sue and Rib Tip had just bought a farm with a lot of acreage and we decided to camp there.

We stopped at a rest stop in the middle of Missouri. As I was coming back to the car I saw a wad of bills on the ground. It must have been several hundred dollars. My heart stopped. I grabbed it and locked myself in the car. I shoved it in my pocket only to discover all of our traveling money was gone. I must have pulled something out of my pocket in the parking lot and pulled all of our cash out. Elation had been replaced by a sudden feeling of horror and just as quickly a feeling of relief. It was too much of an emotional journey in too short a period of time.

Later that night it got foggy. We found our friends’ property. Throwing our gear over a fence we headed to the middle of a long gently sloping hill and set up our little tent by the faint light of a fog shrouded moon.

We heard what sounded like the low rumble of an earthquake. Suddenly we were surrounded by a herd of horses that came at us running and snorting. Steam came from their flaring nostrils. It was spectacular and terrifying. I don’t know how they didn’t squash our little tent but we got ourselves moved to edge of the trees faster than I thought was possible.

The money incident had completely disappeared from my mind. I’m not sure if I ever told Joanie I’d temporarily lost it all. I think I already had a bad track record having lost all our money gambling in Vegas on a previous trip.

A few years ago I was at a K-Mart in Florissant. I never enjoy the experience. At the check out I saw a hundred dollar bill on the floor near the next empty check out. It was the holidays and all I could think of was some kid’s drawer coming up short. I picked it up and gave it to the kid at my check out. Something in her eyes told me that hundred dollar bill would not get back to the store. I was struggling with the holidays that year and I felt like a chump.

I have an arrangement with my ex that I spend two days in St. Peters with my kids. We split our time right down the middle and their school routine isn’t disrupted. Kim is graciously absent.

It’s always an ordeal for me though. I have to pack a cooler with groceries and I always seem to forget something. Kim hates it when I use any of her food.

A year or two ago I was in my car making deliveries. I was already having a hard time keeping gas in my car and I didn’t know how I was going to feed the kids. I was in Earth City in the parking lot of some giant deserted industrial building.

As I was driving slowly across the lot I saw what looked like a stack of bills in my side view mirror. I jumped out and ran around the car and picked up a new $100.00 banded stack of one dollar bills. It did feel a little strange paying for movies, food and gas entirely with one dollar bills. I saw it as payback for the K-Mart experience.


...Sharon said...

Love the bit about the stampeding horses. You were lucky there too.

I tend to find money blowing around a lot at gas stations. A $20 here and $10 there. I always hang around, looking for the one who dropped it. One time I pulled up to a tank with $20 credit left on it.

My favorite lucky find was at the VP fair years ago with Linda. We ran into some friends while watching a gospel show. Suddenly I spied a joint on the ground. I handed it over to Peter to check out. Deemed good, he lit it up and passed it around. Then there was another. And another. And another... seriously I gathered up about eight joints all right around us. It was crazy. Perhaps someone was tossing them our way; I hadn't noticed anyone walking past us. Then I realized they were... Joints From Jesus! Praise the Lord, it was a good day.

Anonymous said...

Sharon's comment is too funny! i have found money many times, but the best was hitchhicking down Lindbergh one night i saw a $20 bill, i picked it up and kept walking, backwards of course, and found a ten, as i went a little farther i found another 20. i was so excited i had to just go back home and buy a bag. I also used to find all kinds of interesting things swabbing out the Oyster Bar in the mornings; a gun(i turned over to the cops, it had been fired) acid, coke, joints, vomit... lol Geo