From an early age, our son, Ken, realized that monetary coins were different from all other circular or cylindrical objects. They had a unique swappable value. Marbles could be swapped for marbles, precious stones for precious stones but coins could be swapped for anything, dependent only on the size of the thing.
At a sea-side shop he spied a brightly coloured beach ball which he had to have. He was two years old at the time so he didn’t have his own stash of coins. He pulled my arm and asked for one. He proceeded to the counter , proffered the coin to the assistant and pointed to the ball of choice. He was disappointed that no change was forthcoming. The assistant explained that he could have a smaller ball and that purchase would give him an additional coin. Ken happily went that route. Perhaps this was his first lesson in spending according to one’s means.
Years later we moved to an area close to a tree lined park , the centre piece of which was a small dam. The latter was home to small fish, frogs and a host of other fascinating water creatures. Peacocks, herons and other birds inhabited the lush surrounding s.
Armed with rods of stick, string and hook our children used to head to the water. They would thread worms onto the hooks and spend many happy hours catching tiddlers. Ken would sometimes sell these fish at our gate.
One afternoon they discovered a dead peacock and carried it home for burial. Before lowering it into the hastily dug grave, Ken insisted on plucking half a dozen feathers. He had heard that the owning of a peacock feather brought good luck.
Next day he stood outside our front gate and placed the jar of feathers, with a ‘For Sale’ notice, on a rock. He did brisk business and pocketed the proceedings.
That night he seemed restless and I wondered whether he was unwell.
Early in the morning I caught sight of him by the grave. He appeared to be exhuming the peacock. He then carefully placed some small objects on top of the body and covered it up.
“Ken, what are you doing?”
“I felt so sorry for the turkey that I had to give him the money.”