By Mark Magnan
Let me start this week by saying a “Thank You” to our local police. Not exactly all of them, although they are certainly a valuable part of our community. Specifically the officers that I see at the sports and school functions. I often get to go to the sporting events for taking photographs, so I see some of the behind the scenes happenings. I often see, and talk to, the officers that are at the games, well they miss the action of the games, they are usually well removed from the exciting part of the event. They are there for a presence and hopefully for not much else. I am sure they would rather be somewhere else, although the calm break might be welcome at times. Hopefully just having a uniformed officer in place makes everyone feel safer, although most of us walk by them without giving them second thought. I appreciate what they are doing to make our students and campuses safe. I truly hope that it is a boring job with absolutely no excitement, which means that everyone is safe and sound. And yes a big thanks to all the other officers in the area from all the departments, even the one that stop you for rolling through a stop sign last Wednesday (no, that was not for me).
Well off to my thoughts for the week. I remember when I was young, we had a small denomination of currency that was really popular and useful. It was small, but actually not the smallest, even though it was the smallest denomination that our currency. It was also a different color and a few other things that set it apart. Of course I am talking about a penny. And yes they are still around these days, and actually you seem them, maybe even more than when I was young. Now you tend to see them littering the ground or disposed of in other ways. Why? I am not sure that people see them as valuable any longer, they are probably more of a nuisance than they are useful.
Well they were certainly useful when I was young, and finding them was a lot harder back then, they were not commonly laying all over the ground as they are today. The kids back then would have been in “hog heaven” had pennies been all over the parking lots like we see now. In those days a penny had a lot of worth. There were actually brands of gum that were two for a penny, while most individual candies were a penny each. There were a few selections that cost a nickel, and once you got to the dime and quarter level you were essentially rich, you had an endless selection of potential treats. But back to the one cent choices, there were so many that you could really go a full week and not hit them all. There were boxes just full of different types and flavors. Sometimes if you worked the clerk’s sympathy just right, and accidentally “miscounted” your selection, they would let you slide with an extra one. That was real benefit, and you felt like you accomplished something.
Like everything else in the world, inflation changes things. Back when I was young, our family home cost about what a nice car costs today. And gas was cheaper and there was someone at the gas station that was happy to fill your tank and do a few other things, instead of yelling at you from behind a half inch thick piece of glass. Clothes were bought from a real clothing store and didn’t come with holes in the pants. We had to actually try and wear out our own jeans, unless your parents thwarted that effort by purchasing jeans with reinforced knees.
I am certain that the days of penny candies are long gone, and with that is gone the incredible selection that we once had. There are a few places that one can find some of the old familiar candies. I enjoy the rare experience of stumbling upon one of those places, it is like going back to my youth with a pocket full of pennies, except now I just cough a couple of dollar bills for a small bag of assorted treats. Now those bills seem about as useful as a few pennies when I was a kid. My sweet tooth seems to have moved on, I am not as excited about candy as I once was, however at times I enjoy the excursion. I just wish that with my salary today the things I want to buy were priced as they were when I wasn’t so concerned with making a living.