What Matters Most….

30 Sep

One silver quarter; two “train-flattened” quarters

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting coins.  I’ve done this for years and love the thrill of finding a new coin for my collection.  I don’t know why I have this fascination with coins… but I imagine it has something to do with the fact that my Dad was a coin collector.

While Emile and I were traveling back east last week, we had the chance to take an early morning walk along the Hudson River.   We followed a seldom used path that was near the train tracks and walked and talked our way through an hour or two.  Twice we saw trains from the city speed past us;  sleek and powerful they thundered by and were gone.

As we neared our destination, I noticed that this was the first time where a road met the train tracks.   That meant that people could get to the tracks easily in this location… and if that is true, then there was a good chance that we might find what I call “train coins.”  These are coins that have been left on the tracks and that have been smushed by the trains as go by.  I’ve heard it’s illegal to put a coin on the track (a train might derail) so I never put a coin on the track, but I have collected quite a few coins after they’ve been left there by others.

On this day, Emile found the first coin.  It turned out to be a smushed quarter.  You could still feel the ridge on the outer edges of the coin, but it was nearly doubled in size.  Where there is one “train” coin, there are likely to be others… and within minutes, I too found one.   Sounds silly, but finding these coins felt as if we’d won a scavenger hunt.  Then later that day, after I’d made a purchase I heard a distinctive sound as the clerk dropped the change into my hand.  It was the sound of a silver coin.   What a fun surprise!

Recently, a family that we know had a surprise of their own.  Early one morning a few weeks ago, a fire erupted in their home.  Fortunately, the husband, his wife, and their son, all escaped injury.   Unfortunately, they lost everything in the fire.  It was devastating.  But since that day, the family has been amazed by the friends and family and members of the community who have rallied to their aid.

The Chocolate Pecan Pie I brought for the Knudsen family

Yesterday we attended a fundraiser for the family at the lodge on Mt. Ashland.  Mt. Ashland is a special place for this family because Malone, the husband, has been working there for many years, and it is also the place where he met his wife, Sasha.  It was a beautiful day on the mountain and a large group of friends came to wish the family well and offer their support as they danced to music performed by members of the East Main Band.

Near the end of the event, Sasha sang with the band for a few numbers, but before leaving the stage she spoke to the crowd.  As I listened to her thank everyone for what they’d done, I watched Malone.  His glistening eyes were on his wife – and the love, admiration, and gratitude he felt was palpable.  In fact, by the time Sasha finished speaking, most of the eyes in the room were tear-filled.

It was an important reminder that while there are material things that we enjoy (in my case, coins), what really matters in life is being with the people that we love.  Anything beyond that is just a bonus.

In the end, what matters most is how well you lived, how well you loved, and how well you learned to let go.  Unknown

Donations for the Knudsen family can be made at the Umpqua Bank in Talent, Oregon (541) 535-3394.

3 Responses to “What Matters Most….”

  1. Berniece Monning September 30, 2012 at 9:45 PM #

    You are an amazing woman, and just to let you know Bill liked coins also. His first collections was stolen from his Mom’s house. That was before I knew him, but he was always going through the register at the store looking for something out of the ordinary. No luck…

  2. S.C. October 1, 2012 at 5:30 AM #

    Interesting post. I’m sorry to hear about that family’s loss.

    I like coins too. My grandfather was a collector, and I ended up with some of his collection. Now I collect on my own. The main appeal for me is almost emotional in a way. I love history, and being able to hold an old coin that you know was used and passed around at a certain time and in a certain place is amazing. Sometimes I wonder about the long trip that rouble, shilling or dirham took from its mint to my hand. I’d also like to leave the collection to my kids, if I ever have any.

    • pieadaygiveaway October 1, 2012 at 9:25 AM #

      S.C. – Thanks for sharing! I too share the love of the history of coins… and find so many of them to be beautiful to behold – the mercury dime, the walking liberty…

      There is a website called Where’s George (http://www.wheresgeorge.com/) – perhaps you’ve heard of it? They track the journey of dollar bills… an interesting way to do it.

      I will pass on my collection to my children, but I haven’t seen this same interest in them. I guess it will just be something to remember me by… which is kind of nice in a way… to have something that was important to me in their possession.



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