A $20 Blessing

Posted: October 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

20 dollars

Do you remember, as a kid, how thrilled you were to tear-open a birthday card and discover money in it? Oh, the joy you felt when a one dollar bill slipped from the card and floated down to your lap! I recall as much as a twenty-dollar bill dropping out from a card, my hand quickly snapping it back and stuffing into my pocket for safe keeping away from leering older brothers.

I was reminded of that twenty-dollar delight this morning when I showed-up at one of my favorite coffee shops to do some writing and realized that I had forgotten my wallet at home. The barista at the counter tallied up my order – a 16 ounce latte and an apple-cinnamon muffin. An instantaneous moment of panic washed over me when I reached around to my backside for my wallet and felt only, well, my backside. No wallet. Just an empty back pocket. Dread!

Quickly, though, I remembered that I had been carrying around a folded-up twenty-dollar bill in my front pocket for days. These days, I tend to use my credit card for most purchases. It’s a great way to build up points for travel. It also means that cash, when I happen to have it, can hang around in my pockets for weeks.

Not only did I have enough cash to pay for my coffee and muffin, I had enough to pay for the postage on the priority envelope I needed to send from the post office on my way home. What a relief to have twenty-dollars on me today.

It got me thinking, though. What a blessing twenty-dollars is. In this day and age of automatic payments for everything from salary to purchases, donations and other forms of gift-giving, I sometimes forget the value of a buck. Not only is twenty-dollars in your pocket a lot of money when you’ve forgotten your wallet, it’s a lot of money, period.

$20 will get you and your sweetie two movie theater tickets to see latest blockbuster in Cleveland. The popcorn and Goobers will be extra.

$20 will get you and your buddy a couple of upper bowl tickets to a Cleveland Browns home game . . . if you can stand the heartache.

$20 will pay your Netflix streaming bill for almost two full months so you can watch Season 2 of Stranger Things with me and the rest of the world on October 27th.

$20 is more than double the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which hasn’t been increased since 2009.

$20 dollars would mean the world to someone living India where, according to Business Insider, the minimum wage is a mere 28 cents an hour. A minimum wage worker in India would have to put-in over 70 hours of work to slip a twenty-dollar bill in a birthday card for one of his children.

$20 will buy a pair of winter gloves and a hat for a child of a low income family here in Cleveland.

$20 will purchase a warm blanket or, if you shopped carefully, a good coat for one of the thousands of women and men living on our city streets or in our shelters.

Please understand, I’m not trying to pack your bags for a guilt trip, here. It’s just me. I’ve been rethinking the value of twenty-dollars ever since I forgot my wallet this morning. I feel just a little more appreciative of the money in my pocket, plastic or paper, and for both its buying and sharing power. I was blessed by the reminder. Blessed to have forgotten my wallet.

By the way, Sunday is my birthday. If you’re still looking for ideas, I’ve got a suggestion.


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