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a good investment

October 10, 2013

i made two stops.  the first was at the gas station.  i’d been running on empty since i hit the home stretch to school this morning and it’s raining outside and we all know what that means – if ever i were going to run out of gas, it would be today.  i continued down the road to my local bank.  i have also been towing around savings bonds that mom dug out of some file in some bureau at home.

my great, great aunt o used to send savings bonds for birthdays and christmases.  grandpa r, however suspicious of the federal government, also believed in gifting the bank notes on holidays.  during my younger years i was quite the stakeholder in the bond market.  and then i went to college and cashed in some of the bonds so i could spend a summer in new york city clubbing with madonna.  a few bonds needed longer to mature (so did i, apparently.  chasing madonna…tsk! tsk!) so my parents tucked them away for a rainy day.

i stood at the bank counter (how often does that happen anymore) and watched as the nice lady in the floaty blouse and the cardigan sweater stamped each bond with today’s date and penned in the trade-in value.  what aunt o and grandpa paid $50 for back in the 90’s, i get to cash in for double the dollar amount.  i walked out of the bank branch a few dollars richer, but feeling sort of empty.

this is going to sound stupid, but those savings bonds were the last things aunt o and grandpa will ever give me.  on december 19th, 1994, when they marched into their local bank branch and plunked down $50 for a savings bond, i wonder what they dreamed i’d one day use this money for.  would it buy me $100 worth of gumdrops and tootsie rolls?  or would it be a piece of a down payment on a car?  would that $100 be a plane ticket to paris?  or would it pay off a speeding ticket?  did they think i’d cash it in when i was 28 on a rainy day in northern virginia?  did they know i’d work in a high school?  did they think i’d be a famous fashion designer or an author or a mother of five?

they didn’t know.  that i’d be 28 and living in northern virginia and working in a high school and walking into a bank on a rainy day.  but even way back in december of 1994 – before they knew what i’d be or what i’d do with my life or who i’d become –  they decided i was worth the investment.  so they plunked down $50 on their local bank counter and took out a savings bond in my name.

after work, i think i’ll make a third stop.  i’ll swing by the ice cream store and grab a scoop.  i’ll plunk down the bills on the counter and think of aunt o and grandpa r.  ice cream is always a good investment and i think they’d both agree.

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