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With coins and memories, life can be happy or sad

May 31, 2009
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Had I known so many people had money to offer, I'd have collected $100 bills.

When I wrote about my quarter collection lacking seven coins, it was more a matter of the missing quarters came to mind when I found a Washington D.C. quarter. It made me sad to look at the collection, knowing I'd dropped the ball without finishing the game.

But, I now have all the quarters I need to fill in my green cardboard container, and a few extras hanging around.

I worked one morning maybe half an hour before I noticed that three of the quarters I'd been missing were hanging by scotch tape from my computer screen. I left them there. It tickles me to see them hanging there. Phone calls and e-mails brought the same message - "I have the quarters you need," but, after Ilah Sandgren, who lives about a couple blocks north of me, knocked on my door that Sunday night, I didn't need quarters any longer. She dropped the needed quarters into my hand and assured me they carried the Denver mint mark.

All I can say is thank you very much for all the offers of help. I appreciate it. And if you're the one who actually sent me quarters and you want them back, just give me a call.

Anybody who passed our house that Sunday night likely saw the living room light flashing on and off.

Really, it's not a code of any kind, nor was it a short in the electrical circuit. At first I turned the light on to fix my coin collection holder, but after that I kept flipping it on and off because every time I did, my daughter said "I love you."

A picture frame she gave me says "I love you" whenever the light goes out - and in her own voice.

On. Off. I love you. Sometimes I talked back to her, saying "I know you do" or "I love you, too."

The people in the picture aren't family, but they're happy people, so I like to look at them, too. Some day, when I can figure out how, I intend to change the picture and put Dana and her husband, Jeff, in the frame.

As happy as hearing Dana's voice makes me, whenever I hear her say "I love you," I want to scream "I'm sorry." I'm sorry I laughed when you took a header off your bike. I'm sorry I cried the first time I saw you kiss a boy. I'm sorry for refusing to acknowledge you as my daughter the time you shaved your head down to that top notch of stringy hair. I shouldn't have cared what other people would think when you were so happy with being different.

When I hear her voice saying "I love you," I want to start with a clean slate and forget what I did to her and she to me.

In hindsight, it's easy to forgive the black magic marker lines she drew on the ceiling to connect the Concentration game pieces she'd glued there.

It all comes down to this: whether with coins or with memories, life can be happy or sad. I just prefer happy.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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