The Silver Dollar


Pamela Perry Blaine


“I wonder what day it is,” Granddad pondered out loud

as I walked into his feed store. 


He continued speaking as he exaggerated his speech,

“Let’s see, hmmm, it seems to me that there was something important

 happening today but it must have just slipped my mind,” he pretended

 to reflect as he scratched his head and looked upward as if by doing so,

he might receive divine help to restore his memory to him.


I stood with a wide grin on my eight-year-old face, knowing exactly

what day it was and knowing that Granddad knew too.  I knew

what was coming next because Granddad had always done the

very same thing on my birthday ever since I could remember.


Granddad reached into that small front chest pocket of his striped overalls

as he laughed through his nose.  He rarely laughed out loud but I often

heard that same soft airy sound of quiet laughter when he was amused. 


Granddad was a very tall man.  He was about 6 ft. 4” and he had a large

frame but I never knew him to be overweight.  His hands were large also

but to a little girl they looked enormous. 


As he used those hands to retrieve something from his pocket, he

opened up one big calloused hand to reveal a coin there in the center

of his palm.  It looked very small lying alone in his great big hand.

When I took the bright shiny coin in my own hand it seemed

huge in comparison to when he held it in his.


It was a silver dollar and Granddad had given it to me for my birthday.


“Thank you, Granddad”, I said gratefully and then I heard

 his soft laughter once again as he put his arm around me.


Every year on my birthday this scene repeated itself.  I know now

that Granddad didn’t have a lot of money and he probably didn’t have

 any idea what to get a little girl for her birthday.  He could have let

Grandma handle the gift giving for him but he didn’t.  He wanted to

give me something himself, so he gave me a silver dollar. 

It wasn’t the silver dollar that made the gift so special.  It was just

the fact that every year he did the same thing, repeating the ritual.

It was the thought, the gift from his heart that said in a very tangible

way, “I remember you and you will always be special to me.” 

Granddad isn’t here on this earth anymore but it’s interesting how things

have a way of turning around.  To this day, whenever I see a silver dollar

I stop and reflect a moment as my heart says,

“Granddad, I remember you and you will always be special to me.”




Pamela Perry Blaine

© March 2005