I’m not sure if the tellers were elevated, or if it was just my five year old vantage point, but everything at First National Bank of Alexandria seemed important. I held my mother’s left hand as she struggled to remove the deposit slip from her purse with her other. I needed her to balance me as my head circled the high ceilings. Everything smelled of wood and dollar bills. When the transaction was finished, the teller thanked my mom by name. She knows her, I thought. I was so impressed! She handed me a yellow safety sucker from the bowl behind her desk. (Red was my favorite, but I still said thank you.)
I was taught that it wasn’t polite to stare, but I couldn’t look away. I could see just the tip of it. It was a flattened cardboard pig with tiny slots filled with coins. “Would you like one,” the teller asked, “to start saving?” More than anything, I thought, and gazed up at my mom to see if it was ok. She was smiling, so I agreed. She handed me the empty cardboard pig and I thought my heart would explode. I didn’t have the words for it then, but I was part of the transaction. And I felt as high as a First National ceiling.
My little pig got heavier with each dime and nickel slotted into place. Months later, when it was full, (from the random couch coin, or my weekly allowance), my mom asked if I wanted to put it in the bank. The real bank. I did, but I wanted to hold it for a while longer…feel the weight of it, the beautiful weight of my transactions. “Hold them as long as you need,” she said.
It feels the same with memory. Each day I place one in a heart slot, and hold on. Banked. Feeling the beautiful weight of all the joy of my days. All the hands held. The smiles exchanged. The love passed back and forth. The comforting weight of my transactions. “Can you still feel it?” they ask. “More than anything,” I reply…”more than anything!”
Hold everything dear.