Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coins of our Fathers

Years ago, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I was walking in downtown Richmond with my father when we were approached by a homeless man. He asked my father for some money, so my dad pulled out a handful of change from his pocket (I believe Pop was physically incapable of not giving homeless people money).

"Thank'y, thank'y," the bum said. "I'm lookin to get me a goddamn job, I just gotta get a goddamn cup of coffee first." He was staring hungrily at the coins in my father's hand.

"Please don't swear in front of my son," my dad said.

He ended up giving the bum the entire handful of change. Later, near the 6th Street Marketplace, I noticed Dad frowning in that particular way of his. He also had a way of walking slightly faster when he was upset about something, and he was doing that now. I asked him what was wrong.

"I think I gave that man some coins from England," he said. "From when I went there in the 70s. I really liked those coins."

I guess the bum ended up spending the coins. But it took me a number of years, well after my father passed away, to finally wonder why my father was carrying around British coins that were nearly thirty years old. He was a sentimental man in a lot of ways, so it's no surprise that he kept the coins. But carrying them around was just so goofy. I think he got over the loss of the coins just fine, but it was still just so odd.

I also wonder if the bum was able to spend the coins, or if they rejected them at the coffee shop or the liquor store or wherever. Where are those coins? Still in downtown Richmond? 

1 comment:

  1. I never knew anything about this incident, Daniel. Very interesting. Sounds like Dad, all right!