It sounds trite to say, “I think of you often,” so how do you prove it? One way is to tell (or write) a story about them. My dear friend Sheri told me a story of how her dad demonstrated it. He traveled a lot for his work and was often away for several days at a time. They are not wealthy people and he traveled so often that gifts were not really an option – what to do? Sugar packets.
Nowadays, sweetener packets are all generic – white, pink or yellow depending on brand. When she was young and her dad traveled, sugar packets were more decorative. Some advertised the restaurant or hotel on one side, but most packets also had a side with a picture. Some had sailing ships, some flowers, some birds – not anything exotic, just a picture. When her dad returned from his trips, he would bring out those fancy sugar packets from his jacket pockets. She knew wherever he ate on the road that he was thinking of home.
Since sugar packets are now all uniform, what can we do now? My answer comes from that same friend and her father. She turned the tables on her dad, an amateur coin collector. In particular, he collects nickels and I noticed Sherri regularly checking her change for older nickels. The Thomas Jefferson design replaced the Indian head – buffalo nickel in 1938. Unlike dimes and quarters – which both switched from being struck in silver in 1965 – the nickel remains the same composition (25% nickel and 75% copper). The pre-1964 silver coins quickly disappeared from circulation. Pennies changed their flip design from the wheat penny to the Lincoln Memorial in 1959. Likewise, but more slowly, wheat pennies also have been culled from active circulation. So, all of that means that the nickel is the oldest coin you may still find in general circulation.
Sherri and I have remained friends for over 30 years, but we live in different states now. We talk on the phone weekly to keep in touch, but I think of her daily. As a small token of that I check my change for pre-1964 nickels. I have found several World War II era coins this year. I keep a cleaned-out M&M minis plastic tube in my car to keep them in. I empty the tube out into my friend’s hand whenever I get a chance to visit. We don’t get to see each other in person very often, but she knows that just like the sugar packets, my nickels are tangible proof that I’ve been thinking of her.
Everyone likes to be remembered; writing a little memoir vignette is one way to do that. Does Sherri’s story remind you of a similar story of your own? What do you do to let those you love know they are in your thoughts? How has someone let you know they have been thinking of you?