I used to own a bank, but I lost it. Actually, it was taken away from me. My Dad took it. My aunt gave it to me. It was a Christmas present. She made it herself. It was a green Cocker Spaniel bank. It was sort of a kosher-version of the classical piggy-bank. It was ceramic. It sat right on my dresser and I kept my allowance in it. Every week I put a couple nickels in it. I made a dime shoveling the drive. I got a little allowance almost every week. It had a hole in the bottom and my dad covered it with cardboard so the money wouldn’t fall out. Eventually it started getting heavy. I imagined all the things that I could do with all that money.
by Ken Pierpont
One day I discovered a new way to school. It went right past a little drug store. It was a quaint neighborhood pharmacy with a glass counter and a fine assortment of candies. I was usually early for school on account of my mom always wanted to get me out of the house early for some reason. I suppose it was quieter when I was gone. With a little time to kill I took a few minutes to browse the isles of the store one morning. The next morning I returned with a nickel in my pocket. With a nickel back then you could get a little sleeve of gumballs.
For the next couple weeks the little corner drug store on Madison St. became a part of my morning routine, then on to Dickenson St. Elementary for my daily rigors. That little routine was the one bright spot in my otherwise dismal day. It continued for about ten glorious days until my Dad discovered that I had been borrowing from myself.
When I was a boy I was strongly encouraged to have a savings account. I was required to make deposits in the account. I was not allowed to make withdraws without permission and that permission was rare as cocoanut trees in Cleveland. Usually it was considered a college fund. So when I was raiding the ceramic dog, I was ruining my chances at a debt-free college education.
When my Dad discovered my fiscal malfeasance he manifested great grief and then ceremonially confiscated my bank. I followed him in solemn procession to the basement where he wrapped my green ceramic Cocker Spaniel in newspaper and buried it in a box. Then he had a few tearful words over its grave. He said; “Kenny, until you have learned to be responsible and save money I can’t trust you with your own bank.” But my Dad was soft, when I got married I still had not learned to save but he gave me my bank back anyway. I kept it for a long time. Eventually it just crumbled into a memory.
My next savings account was at a Savings and Loan in the little village of DeGraff, Ohio. I delivered newspapers and Dad directed me to save a portion of my earnings every week. It was for college. I also laid away a new bike and paid about three dollars a week toward it. The first day of summer vacation one year he surprised me by telling me to take the money from my savings to pay off the bike and bring it home. His justification for talking money out of college savings was that the bike would help me earn even more money delivering newspapers so I could save for college.
I sold seeds, greeting cards, and even hickory nuts when I was a boy. I mowed lawns and shoveled walks. I delivered newspapers, stocked shelves and carried out groceries. I was even paid $45.00 a week from the summer of my Junior year in high school until I left for Moody in the fall by the country church I pastored. When I left for Moody I had saved enough money to pay for my first semester in college.
Dad loaned me a car and a gasoline credit card with a five-dollar a week limit. That was enough money to get me to work where I was able to earn money to pay the rest of my school bill. I washed dishes third shift to pay my way through Bible College. Many times in the middle of the night I wished I had been able to save more money in my college fund. I should have listened to my dad. He tried.
By the on-going grace of God at work in my life I do aspire to be like the man who fears God and delights greatly in his commandments. He is the kind of man who “guides his affairs with discretion.” (Psalm 112)