Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Looking for Treasure

When I was a small, pig-tailed girl, I’d walk the 100 yards between my parents’ house and their store pulling a Radio Flyer wagon behind me. Every time I’d see something catch the sun’s ray and reflect from the road’s grassy shoulder, I’d stop to investigate. Sometimes my discovery was only worth a glimpse or sneakered kick, but other times, lots and lots of times, I’d discover five and ten cent treasures.

Aluminum cans or clear, brown and green glass bottles people had thrown from their car windows oblivious to the litter they created along a beautiful Vermont country road. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Vermont has a bottle redemption program and I’d save those sun-drenched discards until the anticipation of my accumulated wealth beckoned a parent to help me exchange my collection for cash. We’d drive to the local convenience store and I’d watch as an attendant tallied my finds and then placed a dowry in my hand.

Sometimes my new wealth would help fill my pockets with candy and other times it helped to buy school supplies, or clothes, or other necessities.

Every day as I watch the news or read the paper and contemplate what today’s global recession will mean to all of us, what it already means to my family, I think about that child and her little red wagon. Georgia doesn’t have a bottle redemption program, but I find myself breathing in an old awareness of how quickly five cents multiplies into a dollar and I switch off lights, skip the daily latte, and buy the less expensive tomatoes.

With every swing of the pendulum, we unveil opportunity. The trick is to discover what’s worth only a glimpse and what’s actually unearthed or discarded bounty. My entrepreneur’s spirit can only survive if I continue to believe in a dream and in my power to make it a reality.

If you notice a little girl with pigtails, pulling a wagon, go ahead and roll down your window, smile and wave. It’s me out looking for treasure.

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16 comments to Looking for Treasure

  • I use to collect bottles and cans too. In Michigan, they were worth 10 cents. I would ride my bike to the local store and exchange all my bottle and cans for two bags of candy.

    I know that the economy will eventually turn around, but until then I worry. I worry about having to find a second job, or having to give up on allergy friendly items for food. We are no where near that point, but sometimes I worry about it.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Day Off

  • “With every swing of the pendulum, we unveil opportunity.” My inspiration for today – thanks. :)

    Violets last blog post..I have become comfortably numb

  • Jan

    Wonderfully eloquent. My dear, YOU are a treasure.

    (You can make my leftover Chicken and Noodle Casserole without onions, too! :P )

    Jans last blog post..Just Some Friday Randomness

  • kristy

    I am very scared with the economy the way it is and I to have been turning off lights and turning down the thermostat. It scares me to think that this is just the begining of a very dificult road. I will start picking up bottles with my red wagon again if I have to as well. Because it was the best way to get money as a little kid. If I see you on the side of the road I will definately give you a wave.

  • i keep trying to cut back everywhere — skip the lattes, the impulse purchases at the grocery store — still having a hard time believing it is so bad, even as i watch people around me really struggling and fear for my husband’s job…

    Madges last blog post..Just Here

  • you said it, T, saving those pennies….

    garys last blog post..that desert island question

  • I love how you wrote this (guess that writer’s block is gone!)
    We’ve put a halt to dining out – one evening a month we can go out for dinner as a family (yes I know we are so lucky to be able to manage that). We’re all excited when it’s Family Dinner Night now, which gives us something to look forward to (and more money in the bank). Silver linings.

    Tracys last blog post..That black cloud obscuring your view? My bad mood.

  • Great visual! I can see Little Trish walking down the road now!

    Happy Friday!

    HeatherPrides last blog post..I Bet They’re Hiring in Alaska

  • This was beautiful, Tricia. Today was a difficult day for me. I talked with a friend who has extreme views on how bad this is all going to become.

    “With every swing of the pendulum, we unveil opportunity. The trick is to discover what’s worth only a glimpse and what’s actually unearthed or discarded bounty. My entrepreneur’s spirit can only survive if I continue to believe in a dream and in my power to make it a reality.” – I needed to hear that today. Thank you.

  • Shiela

    A million years ago when the earth was cooling and I was 8 I seem to remember that we could redeem bottles in Ga… I think.

  • My youngest and I are the bottle and can collectors. I think my husband cringes every time he sees us picking them up. “Mad money.” Pretty soon, it might be all we have.

    patoiss last blog post..The Weekly Wonderings #98

  • What a great story with a great message, and you said it so well. I can just picture you walking down the street pulling your red wagon.

    Loris last blog post..Change

  • I love this. We did the same. I do the same with bottles (fizzy water) I buy for our household. I think about all the houses I cleaned as a kid, painted my grandparents house, washed cars and sold lemonade. The change I made, the $20 for a night of babysitting, all added up. Now, I am not only holding my own business together, but taking on some extra work now in the creative field is helping. Feels desperate and kind of scary, but grateful to have it!

    movin’ down the roads last blog post..March 1st

  • I’m a saver and if everyone would only do a small part, it would add up to huge results. Thanks for reminding us of that.

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..Bitchy Rears Her Ugly Head

  • Nothing would make me happier than to see you on the side of the road with your little red wagon! My mother used to say, watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. Great post, Tricia.

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..LIFE’S A BEACH

  • donna

    My husband picks up pennies on the ground. One year he kept track of it and he picked up over $90.00 in a year. So bend over end pick up the pennies they make a difference. Rather it be mad money or survival. I guess that is where Tricia gets it. You will make it baby girl, I know that.If for some reason you do not you can always come home.

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