The past few years I have frequented Aldi grocery stores. They have good quality food and even better prices. One of the reasons they have such low prices is their cart-rental system. Their carts lock together and you “rent” one for your shopping time by putting in a quarter. When you return the cart to the corral, you get your quarter back. Simple. And their parking lot is not littered with random carts.
Occasionally when I am returning a cart, I’ll see another patron approach. I’ll offer my cart and they offer a quarter. Or the other way around. It's a nice gesture.
One Saturday morning as I returned my cart an older gentleman approached me to do the cart swap. I waited for a moment as he fished around in his pants pocket for a quarter. The sound of change rattling in his pocket brought back memories of my grandfathers, who always seemed to have change in their pockets. I smiled as I took the quarter and then walked back to my car with tears in my eyes. I suddenly missed my grandfathers.
My mom’s father Ed died when I was ten. I lost my other grandfather, Russell, when I was 20. I have lovely memories of them both. One, an artist/gas station owner and the other, a barber/farmer/school bus driver.
Funny how the sound of change made me very aware of how life changes. Hardly anyone keeps coins in their pockets anymore. Or a comb in their front pocket. Or carries a handkerchief. The way of life that my grandfathers knew has passed. Thankfully my memories of them are very much alive.