Grandpa’s Silver Dollar
Justin ducked behind the big tree. His heart was pounding and he struggled to breathe. His face felt hot in contrast to the cold coin he held tightly in his hand. He had stopped at Grandpa’s after school because Mother was at a stake leadership meeting. He found the door open, but Grandpa was nowhere in sight. Justin had spied the pile of pennies on the kitchen counter. The coins were worn and dull, but Justin’s eye had caught a glimmer of a shiny silver coin tucked inside a soft cloth.
“Grandpa must have been polishing this one,” he thought as he fingered the coin with a woman’s head adorned by a crown. He turned it over to reveal an eagle and the words “ONE DOLLAR”.
“This doesn’t look like the gold dollars that the tooth fairy always leaves under my pillow,” he reflected. He thought about the radio control car he was saving his money for. “I only need eighty-five more cents. I can borrow this dollar from Grandpa and then pay him back when I get my allowance,” he decided.
Justin peeked around the tree at the sound of Grandpa’s whistling. Before coming out from his hiding place he tucked the coin deep into his pocket and then climbed the porch stairs. Grandpa was sitting at the counter shining a coin with the soft cloth that had held the silver dollar earlier. When he finished he placed it into a slot inside of a blue folder. “Hey champ!” Grandpa greeted Justin. “How come you’re so late?”
“Uh, my teacher made us stay after school and clean out the equipment closet,” Justin lied.
“Do you want to help me with my coin collection?” Grandpa asked.
“I didn’t know you had a coin collection too!” Justin exclaimed.
“I’ve sort of been collecting coins since I was, oh, three years old. It’s sort of a hobby. That’s why I’ve been giving each of you grand kids the state quarters to collect. I thought you might enjoy collecting too!” Grandpa said while he began lifting up the different objects on the counter and looking under them. Grandpa’s brow furled and he shook his head. “Now what did I do with that?”
“So what do you want me to do, Grandpa?” Justin asked.
“Oh!” Grandpa said in a distracted tone. “You can shine up these pennies and then put them back in this folder. See how there’s a date under each slot? You put the coins with the matching dates in each slot.”
While Justin shined the pennies and put them neatly back into their folder he noticed that Grandpa seemed worried. He kept looking in his pockets, and through the coins on the counter, and even got down on his hands and knees and peered under the kitchen table. Several times he rubbed his forehead as if in deep thought. Justin knew what Grandpa was looking for—the silver coin—but he didn’t say anything. He just kept shining pennies and putting them in their slots.
“Maybe I took it with me when I went downstairs to put the clothes in the dryer,” he said more to himself than anyone else. Looking at Justin he said, “Will you be okay while I go down to the laundry room?”
Justin felt sick and he felt the color leave his face. Averting his eyes away from Grandpa he stared at the coins. “I’m just about done with these pennies. What do you want me to do next?”
Grandpa looked at the coin folder Justin was working on. “You’re doing a real good job, Justin. Thank you!” he said lifting the folder full of nickels. “Would you do these nickels next?”
“Sure. No problem,” Justin squeaked the words out barely above a whisper.
“You okay Justin?”
“Okay then. I’ll be right back.”
When he was out of sight Justin retrieved the coin from his pocket and hid it under his foot. When Grandpa returned Justin got up to get a drink of water, revealing the silver dollar. “Hey, what’s this, Grandpa?” Justin said as he bent down and picked up the coin.
“Oh, my! Thank goodness you found it!” Grandpa exclaimed. Staring at the coin, he continued, “When I was three years old my brother Francis gave me this silver dollar, just before he left to join the navy. It’s worth about eighty dollars now, but to me it’s priceless.
Justin looked puzzled.
“Francis told me that if I would never ever spend this, I would always have a dollar to my name. So that’s what I did. It was saving this dollar that taught me how to be thrifty and not buy frivolous things.”
That night, when Mother and Father came to kiss Justin good night, they found him crying. When they asked what was wrong, Justin confessed everything. After a good long talk with his parents and another one with Heavenly Father, Justin asked his parents if they would take him to Grandpa’s house.
“Grandpa, you know when you couldn’t find your silver dollar that great uncle Francis gave you? I took it and when you asked me why I was late, I lied.” Tears ran down Justin’s cheeks and he gave Grandpa a tight hug. “I’m really sorry Grandpa!” Justin went on, “I told Heavenly Father that I’ll never do it again!”
Grandpa hugged Justin back and a sniffle escaped his lips, before he spoke. “Thank you for telling me Justin!” he said. “You know, I was taking the garbage out when I saw you come out of the house and hide behind the tree. I knew something was amiss!”
“When you knew I lied, why didn’t you get mad at me?”
“I was waiting for you to choose for yourself! That’s part of Heavenly Father’s plan. You know the silver dollar was a wonderful gift from my big brother and very important to me, but returning with all of my family to live with our Heavenly Father forever is what’s really important!” Grandpa continued, “Today, Justin, you took advantage of the greatest gift of all—the one our elder brother gave us, if we repent. Jesus atoned for all of our sins with His precious blood!”
by Margie Nauta Lee