There is a very good chance that by a year from now, we will be settled (mostly) in a new home in a new state.
We have been cleaning out the basement with an eye toward moving. We ask ourselves these questions frequently: Do I like it enough to move it 875 miles? Do we need it badly enough to move it? Would it be easier to simply buy this new?
A lot of things have gone into the garage sale pile. A few things have been tossed out. More items than I care to think about have been boxed for the move.
In recent years, I’ve adopted a more minimalist esthetic. The less stuff I have sitting around seems to lighten my spirits and lift my mood. The more stuff sitting around seems to weigh on my mind and distract me. So why am I keeping a plaster of Paris piggy bank?
Realistically speaking, it’s an ugly thing and bigger than you might imagine. My father’s mother bought it for me when I was two years old and had my nickname painted on it, “Dee Dee.” She spelled it wrong. Because Grandma thought my mom couldn’t do anything correctly regarding me that also applied to not spelling my nickname “Deedy.” So my name on the pig is not right.
In a fit of thrift, the first time the pig was full enough to empty, instead of letting me smash it with a hammer as I wanted to do and as was meant to be done, my dad drilled out a hole in the belly of the pig so that it could be used and re-used indefinitely.
Because it is basically ugly and because I lean toward minimalism, that piggy bank will probably never be set out on display and will live in a box for the rest of my life. So why do I keep it?
To answer that question, I have to tell a story.
When I was very young, one of the highlights of my day was when Dad got home from work. After kisses and hugs and happy hellos, Dad would get the thermos from his lunch box and we would sit at the table in the kitchen.
He’d pull all the change out of his pocket and put it on the table. He’d pour the last couple of sips (which he had saved expressly for the purpose) of coffee from his thermos. While I sipped on cold coffee heavy with cream and sugar, we would add up all the change. The end of the ritual was putting each coin, one by one, into my piggy bank. When my sister came along, the coins were divided evenly between us. Grandma had also bought her a plaster of Paris pig when she turned two years old.
I can remember the smell and the taste of the coffee. There is a taste peculiar to coffee that’s been in a thermos all day. I loved the stuff.
I can remember his hands on mine as he helped me to count the coins. I can still feel him crouching beside me as I put the coins into the pig that sat on the floor of my bedroom.
I’m 66 years down the road from when I first got that pig, but the memories it helped to create are still with me.
And that’s why I’m keeping that ugly, old piggy bank.