The Pickle Jar Story

The years passed. I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom. Sadly, I noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and now had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words; he never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all those virtues far more effectively than the most eloquent of words could have. How fondly I remembered that old jar and its place in my life. 

When I married, I told my wife Susan of the significant part that old pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed." she said carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a noticeable mist in her eyes.

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the back bedroom. "Look!" she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser.

To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a small handful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up to see Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak. 

We had no need for that. The pickle jar was back in its old spot now with a renewed purpose. I could see the joy in my Dad's eyes as he gently held his granddaughter in his arms. The old pickle jar was new again.

"Dreams are but thoughts until their effects be tried."
*-- William Shakespeare

"He who gains a victory over other men is strong; but he who gains a victory over himself is all powerful."
*-- Lao Tzu 

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