Rainy weather washed out our plans to ride bikes on the greenway. So my 7-year-old grandson Grayson and I rolled pennies, of all things.
Sue Ellen and I had months of loose coins that we’d started rolling the day before, but we weren’t going to do the pennies. We were going to just run them through the bank’s counter and pay the confiscatory fee by which they charged us to count money we were going to put into an account in their bank.
We’d sacrifice the 8-10 percentage tariff for the pennies, which weren’t worth the effort, but not for the big coins.
But, with us scrambling for entertainment on a rainy day we decided to roll pennies. Anything you can do with a little boy that gives him a sense of accomplishment is a good thing. So efficient were we, that we ran out of coin wrappers.
That necessitated a trip to the Dollar Tree a mile and a half away to get some more. I hated to drive the car that short distance, and the roads were too wet to safely ride our bikes. But the misty rainfall was not too furious to keep us from walking.
After assuring me that he could do the round trip, Grayson and I took off for an adventure, him in an old cap of mine, and a raincoat that dwarfed him.
We observed three power company trucks driving through the neighborhood as we walked, and remembered how the lights had flickered at our house, but hadn’t gone out. Odd.
We chatted as we walked, noting the quiet swimming pool on a rainy day, revisiting my recent bike wreck when he had gone for help, talked safety rules about walking on the road, teased about “chasing girls” in a few years that made him turn red.
I realized he didn’t think he’d have to wait that long. On the return trip, I made sure to inform him girls have cooties.
We talked about how a hill looks much higher and steeper from the top of a previous hill, but seems to level out as you walk it. So don’t be discouraged, keep moving forward.
He sounded the “how much further” refrain after the first mile, but by then we were in the shopping district and I could point out the traffic light we needed to reach. Alas, when we got there, the store was dark.
Employees sitting in front said they had no power and could not let us in the store. I moaned. A long walk for “nothing.”
Disappointed that we couldn’t accomplish our goal, and knowing how fragile a 7- year-old’s countenance can be, we started the long walk back home empty handed. We noticed, however, that on the other side of the street lights still blazed – including at a donut shop.
I suggested a detour and took the opportunity for more teaching about power lines, grids and transformers and how one side of the street can have electricity, while the other side remains in the dark.
I also shouldered my grandfatherly responsibility to illustrate the distinct taste advantages of an apple fritter over a chocolate covered cake donut.
Just when it looked like our adventure was a strike out, a hot and tired grandson with a chocolate smear on his face said, “We’ve got to do this again, papa.”
Grayson reminded me that time is our most precious currency and when you invest it on the journey your destination is irrelevant.