By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
In my childhood days, when we would visit relatives, we always went to the general store.
At this general store, one could find everything: feed, milk, cereal, lye, garden seed and anything else one might need. Miss Nell always stocked a wide variety of candy and plenty of bottled cokes — RC Cola and Orange Crush in cases.
One of my favorite things to buy at that store was Kool-Aid. But it came quite differently than it comes now. The stuff was already made up and in a glass jar that looked like a bear. Of all the flavors, I liked grape the best.
When we bought Kool-Aid, we got an added bonus. The Kool-Aid glass bottle also doubled as a piggy bank, except the glass was shaped like bear. The lid had a slit in it and when we had finished the Kool-Aid, we recycled it for a piggy bank.
Those were simpler times and slower ways. Bad things happened but perhaps we did not hear of them so much.
So consequently, when I bought the Kool-Aid, I always started saving my pennies in my new bank. I put my extra pennies in it and begged from any adult that would give me their pennies. My goal was to save 10 pennies a day during our vacation.
But the problem came when I would visit the store again.
If Miss Nell received a new shipment of Baby Ruth candy bars, I just had to spend part of that money to buy one. If she was selling cinnamon toothpicks in a little tube, I just had to try them. If Miss Nell displayed new bubble gum packages with baseball cards, all my savings went instantly because I was set on a Mickey Mantle card.
When vacation was over, I would forget my savings plan and the bear bank until the next year.
Oh, I had great intentions. It is just that I never followed through. I rationalized that there would always be next year and I could start saving again then.
Now I look back and see that those summer vacations have turned into months, and months into years. Childhood has disappeared, leaving middle age on my doorstep. But the question comes to me today: If I had continued to save pennies all those years, how much would I have now?
The Bible says that for everything there is a season: a time to be born and a time to die. Our times are numbered on this earth and orchestrated by the Heavenly Father. The Psalmists tell us that before we were born, God knew the number of our days on earth.
Yes, time is a valuable gift that each of us possesses. We can make the most of it and use it to our benefit, or squander it on activities and passing urges that have no long-term consequences.
I finally bought the Mickey Mantle card, but just like those days, it has been lost over the years. I spent all of my money in the bear jar, but today I couldn’t give you even a hint on what I spent it on.
The bear lesson was twofold for me: Follow through on commitments and don’t spend money on wants. That is a childhood lesson that has had value for me as an adult.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: