Saturday Single No. 279

I had to run out to the credit union on the west side this morning, so I got up earlier than I had planned, pulled myself together and headed out the door. One of the tasks that falls under the “pulling myself together” category is filling my pockets with the things I normally carry around with me: my wallet and so on.

When I’m home, those items reside in a wicker basket on top of my filing cabinet. Since I empty all the contents of my pockets into the basket when I get home, the basket becomes a repository of my history. A quick dig into the lower levels of the basket brings up pens and pencils, sales receipts, coupons and ticket stubs, like the one I found this morning from a 2007 baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Nationals.

Anyway, as I prepared to leave this morning, I grabbed my wallet, my house keys, my car keys, some pens and the fanny pack in which I carry potentially necessary medication and turned to leave my study en route to the back door. Then I stopped. Something was absent. I did a quick inventory. My change was missing.

Like many American boys and men, for years I’ve kept my pocket change in a small plastic coin purse similar to the one in the picture at the right. I assume I started doing so when I was in my early teens because my dad did so, and I suppose I’ve gone through about ten of the plastic gadgets during my life. The change holder that was absent this morning is one I bought about ten years ago when the Texas Gal and I visited an aquarium in Duluth. I bought it at the souvenir stand not because I wanted it as a souvenir but because the coin holder I was using was beginning to tear, and it had been a while since I’d seen any like it for sale anywhere. Now, it was gone.

Perplexed, I checked the pockets of yesterday’s jeans and then looked at all the tables and shelves in the house. No joy.

So I headed out to the credit union, wondering where I’d left my coin purse. I’d been out of the house once the day before and had purchased stuff at a few different places. I could have left it at any of those stops. There was one bit of luck, however: I’d handed my accumulated quarters, dimes and nickels to the Texas Gal a couple of days ago for use in the vending machines at her workplace, so there couldn’t have been more than a dollar in the coin purse when it went away.

As I drove to the west side of town and then took care of my business at the credit union, I pondered how I was going to replace the coin purse. I expected it to be challenging, and it was. I stopped at Walgreen’s on the west side. The clerk there shook her head, as did the clerk at Shopko on the east side, not far from home. Both clerks knew what I was talking about but neither store carried them.

And that was pretty much as I expected. It used to be easier, of course. As I’d driven from the west side toward home, I’d cataloged in my head the stores that used to exist along the way where I could have easily found bins full of plastic coin purses: Woolworth’s and Walgreen’s were in the mall; in downtown there would have been Dan Marsh Drug, the nearby Marsh Walgreen’s, Molitor Drugs, Osco Drug, Woolworth’s and Kresge’s; and on the East Side, there was the Rexall drug store next to Carl’s Market.

That’s nine, and I may have forgotten some. All of those stores are gone now, of course. There are several Walgreen’s outlets in the area, but they’re in different locations these days, and the one where I did stop – as I indicated above – was unable to help.

So when I got home, I did what any 21st Century shopper does: I went online. I found several coin purses at Amazon. The first few that I saw looked as if they were made of a harder plastic, the type of plastic that gets stiff and breaks during cold weather. Then I checked out the change holder in the picture above, which appeared to me to be made of a softer plastic. That one, however, was available only by the case. So I sighed and bought a case. That’s fifteen of them, and I’d think that should keep me in coin purses for the rest of my life.

As I wrote this, I kept seeking out songs about coins. There were plenty, but the one that caught my ear this morning was Judy Roderick’s take on the Depression-era tune, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime” from her 1964 album Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues. I know only a little about Roderick, though her story at All-Music Guide is interesting. I’ll have to dig more deeply into her music, and that starts by making her version of “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime” today’s Saturday Single.

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2 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 279”

  1. porky says:

    how about “High Coin,” a tune written by Van Dyke Parks and Bobby Vee
    (a true odd couple)? Seems it was covered by Vee, Harper’s Bizarre and the Charlatans to name a few.

    I used those squeeze coin purses well into my 20’s and remember a friend wanting to hide in embarrassment as I pulled it out to pay for something.

    Actually I would get tiny holes in the bottom of my pockets and, not being able to sew, would use a coin purse to keep the coins from dropping to the floor.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Proof that St. Cloud needs a tourist destination with a coin purse-carrying gift shop, no?

    As the tooth grows long, that case of new coin purses may not necessarily prove to be a lifetime supply: A bit over a month ago, I felt it was time to retire my vintage 1976 “Gladys Knight in ‘Pipe Dreams'” promo stocking cap (the cap itself still looks fine, no doubt weathering the years better than the motion picture itself.) So I picked up a new cap at Target and wore it for only a few days before it just plain disappeared. I hadn’t left the house during the days it seemed to have vaporized and can’t find it anywhere. Resigned to buying a new one, naturally Target’s winter wear had already been replaced by spring apparel. No doubt the missing cap will turn up the day the rest of the winter gear goes into the closet come April. Meanwhile, Gladys has gone back to “insulating the attic roof,” as it were.

    I’ll second “High Coin,” which was wholly Van Dykes Parks-composed. My pick is the late-’69 Fault Line B-side on RCA, which is allegedly just producer Rick Jarrard’s studio alias. Take the spacey Harpers Bizarre take, commercialize it with a Curt Boettcher-like sheen and throw in Al Capps’ soaring brass arrangement, and you have… a terrific B-side stiff. If it really is Jarrard, he sounds more like Parks here than on his earlier Dylanesque Chattahoochee label single, great though that version was, too.

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