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Lunch Money

Fall foggy morning… from the curb where mom dropped me off that morning I couldn't see the school building through the fog. I was late. Perhaps first time I'd ever been late for school. I was five or six years old. Usually all the kids would play until the bell rang and then assemble in straight line to enter Monroe school while teacher stood by.

This morning was very different… I couldn't see anything… the school playground and building were obscured by the dense fog…

Bravely walking through the fog I knew where to go though I could barely see the school entrance… I wasn't the only one late that morning. Classmate, Paul, twice my size found the door same time I did. I wondered why Paul was so big… but now was not the time to speculate. The sight of Paul's towering presence emerge though the fog startled me and caused me to lose grip of the coins held in my mitten… it was my lunch money…

I heard the coins hit the pavement… my little heart struck with fear as I knelt down to find the lost coins… I took off my mittens and felt all over the pavement around me recovering several coins…

I was too young to know the denomination of quarters, nickels, and dimes… I worried that I hadn't found them all and would be turned away in the lunch line not having enough money. Feeling badly… knowing my mom had given me the precise amount, I dutifully placed the coins found in the pocket of my slacks and entered the school worried that I might not have found all the coins.

Class time past and soon lunch hour arrived… nervously taking my place in line I worried that the money I recovered was insufficient for my meal. Shuffling my tray along the cafeteria line accepting the meal offered and milk in wax coated container I grew all the more nervous as my time came to pay.

Offering all the coins in my pocket to the lady at the register I was greatly relieved when she received it and passed me on to the next child in line. That lunch tasted better than all the others that year. I never dropped my lunch money again.


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