Thursday, January 1, 2015

Washing With Money

We don't have much in the way of traditions in my family. Few long standing, hand-me-down superstitions on either side. We do have three that I can think of and I embrace them. They all center around the holidays.

The first is our Christmas Eve dinner. When I was much younger, my parents would throw an annual Christmas party right before the holiday, and then we'd finish off all the snacks and cheeses on the Eve proper. Eventually, they stopped with the parties, but we still whip up Swedish Meatballs, shrimp, cocktail weenies in BBQ sauce. We assemble cheese and relish trays, then make a living room floor picnic out of it all. My parents passed through town, so I got to do that this year a full week before the holiday, though we sat at the kitchen table in deference to age and aching knees. It's not when you do it, or where you do it, just that you do it, right?

The other two are New Years' Day traditions. First, I have pork chops and sauerkraut in the slow cooker. I didn't like the kraut as a child, but am glad I matured into appreciation. (I love the stuff now.) This year, they're crazily thick chops, because Chris picked them out, and the store was out of caraway seeds, but it counts, and I can smell them from here.

Finally, there's "Washing with Money." My grandmother (who I would call that,  not "Grandma" but "Grandmother,"in some bemused-slash-aggravated tone that I like to think she always appreciated) would make sure we washed our faces with silver coins to ensure a prosperous year. If we weren't at her home, she'd call to check that we had.

My mother just texted me to inquire if I'd done it yet today. I had, and this year I dug out a pair of Silver Dollars from my Grandmother. I don't always think to, but Chris reminded me of them. 1922 Liberty Dollars, and they weren't a gift, but from a tiny box I got along with a few of her cloisonne pieces when mementos were divided after her death. There were a few wheat pennies folded paper bills in that little box as well. A quick google search implies they're worth about $20 each if I could find a buyer. For me, though, I'll keep them. They're her Silver Dollars, for washing with on New Years Day. They live in a drawer the rest of the year, just to fulfill this one purpose.  Whoever gets them someday, when my own mementos are divvied up, can decide what to do with them then.

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