Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tuesday with Dad

Dad had a few old coins in his drawer that he had for a long time. At the Burger King where he sometimes goes for coffee with the men on Monday mornings, he heard someone tell about exchanging some old coins for cash at a place on Monroe Street. I did some internet sleuthing, and found the place and then Dad called a buddy to confirm that it was the right place.

Thank goodness for my rather lame GPS, because Route 20 was closed due to construction and although Dad intended to tell me right where to go, he has trouble staying awake in the car—could be a family trait as it happens to me all the time also. When we arrived at the Gold and Silver Exchange, there were absolutely no parking spots. I dropped Dad at the door and waited until someone vacated a space. I did not wonder long why he had not entered by himself. It was a bit intimidating. You go inside the entry door and then you are in a barred cage. Someone has to buzz the door to let you get in. The room was packed with people—mothers with babies on their laps, old men, young men, old ladies--quite a motley crew of various races. Dad with his cane and I with my old jeans blended right into the scene. The man at the counter eventually asked us if we had something to sell today. We said, "yes." We were then given a number of 86. They soon called for number 60 giving us another indication that we were going to be there awhile.

I was wearing my nice rings and put my hands in my pocket and turned them backwards and then went to the restroom and quickly took them off and put them in my wallet. The fact that you could not leave the main room, which very much resembled my image of a jail cell, unless someone buzzed you out, probably made me a teensy weensy uneasy.

There were no seats available so I scanned the group and got enough courage to whisper to a man about 20 years old with dreadlocks if he would mind letting my father sit down. He was very gracious and popped right up and gave Dad his seat. He really was kind because he asked me several times if I would like him to get a seat for me. I declined and stood guard over Dad.

It was interesting watching people take their treasures one at a time up to the counter--mostly jewelry. They buy only real gold or silver--nothing plated or brass and so some people were turned away. I heard a few that got $400-600 but it was hard to see their wares because the men behind the counter tried to be discreet. Finally, when it was our turn, the man that waited on us was extremely kind. He wanted to get Dad a chair but Dad said, "No." Again, I had sleuthed on the internet and was surprised that the man offered Dad a fair price. Then in order to write Dad a check, Dad needed a valid driver’s license. I was a bit nervous about that but I need not have worried. He painstakingly shuffled through many cards from his rather thick wallet and happily and perhaps proudly produced his driver’s license—all up to date and good. So it is a good idea for him to have a license!

Back in the car, I let out my breath and said, “Well, Dad, that was an adventure!” Undaunted, he said, "Now I know more about it. I have a gold watch that I picked up one time at a sale. I should have brought that. If we come this way again, I should bring it. You know if those things just lay around in my drawer, someone will find them and probably throw them out." Unfortunately, it isn’t a place we just go by.

One of our errands today was to go to the bank and cash the check and to my delight, it cashed. So there you go!

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