Listen To The Maudlin Rain

Wow, bicentennial quarters sure are getting thin in regular circulation, aren’t they?

For those of you who don’t remember, back in 1976, the United States quarter, the twenty-five cent piece (one quarter of a dollar, you see), deviated from the standard Washington profile/eagle design to recognize the nation’s 200th birthday. On the reverse side, where the eagle would have appeared, you see a drumming Uncle Sam. That was kind of a big deal, since before the state quarters started showing up in 1999, the quarter had the same design for many people’s lifetimes.

You used to find them every so often in the wild, at least you did in much of my lifetime. For 32 years, I’d see them often enough to not think anything of it. However, I guess I haven’t seen one in quite a while.

I found one on my dresser this morning after dumping the contents of my pocket last night. Just for a moment, I thought to put it aside for my mother as I’d done for years, saving bicentennial quarters, Susan B. Anthony dollars, and Sacagawea dollars so she could put them in coffee cans and glass jars for the sheer hoarding joy of it (you can guess where I get it from then).

My mother passed away a year and a half ago, so I guess I haven’t seen a bicentennial since then. So I paused for a moment and thought about her. I wonder if I’ll not have those little moments, those little remembrances as time passes, especially as the incidental artifacts of our shared experiences and minor traditions disappear from the world.

And I’ve taken this quarter from the dresser and don’t know what I’ll do with it. Maybe start a jar, although a small one, of them.