Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 7 - Quarters

I collect grapes.  My high school mascot was a grape. You have probably have seen its cousin on the Fruit of the Loom commercials.  Our mascot was actually a huge machine called a grapepicker. It goes down the rows of grapes and shakes the grapes lose from the vines.  It was voted in 1981 as the Second Most Unusual Mascot in the country after the Cranberry Cranberries.  Since the actual machine couldn't be cartooned for wearing, we just use the grape cluster costume.  So for some reason I feel a connection to my childhood through grapes.  They have to be nice looking not just ANY grape.  And I'm fruit-specific as the reporter who interviewed me for this rare collection said.  I can't have anything on it other than the grapes.  No apples, no oranges, just grapes.

As I was being interviewed for the story in the News Journal of Daytona Beach, my daughter Jula started counting the grape collection.  I was proud of the collection and I remember my son Cassius at the age of 12 started counting YEARS ago and stopped at fifty.  After Jula got to 300, I yelled STOP.  It was an epiphany.  I had no idea that my collection had grown to this huge number.  I have them displayed nicely in the kitchen. Every grape item has its place and it doesn't LOOK like there are over 300 grape items in the house.  I guess 300 was an OVER-THE-TOP number that I wasn't ready to do Cinderella-Mirror-Mirror-on-the-wall -check. Only in this case it wasn't for beauty, it was for sanity.  Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the sanest of them all?  I knew the answer.  It wasn't me. I asked the reporter to just say, "over 240" instead of the 300 to make me feel better.

Many of my friends and boyfriend have given  these grapes to me, so in my defense, I didn't buy or accumulate all of these on my own.  Isn't that how it starts though?  One by one, we start a collection and without realizing it the next day it is out of control.  Sort of like clutter in the house.  One day the napkin is left on the sofa and next thing you know the laundry room looks like a closet with a washer and dryer in it instead of a laundry room.

People collect different things for personal reasons.  Disney memorabilia, baseball cards, birdhouses, cow stuff for the kitchen, roosters, Beanie Babies, etc.  So with this American cultural pressure it wasn't Jula's fault that while her year in America, she started collecting the fifty state quarters.  She wanted to get all 50 before she left the United States.  When she left she had gotten 38, twelve short of the goal.  So my self-imposed job since she has returned to Germany,  has been to help her complete her collection by finding the remaining twelve.  As of last week I had gotten the eleven and only the state of Illinois was left to find.  After posting a listing on Craigslist, someone e-mailed me from INDIANA.  How he found the listing in Florida was beyond me but he did.  He had the Illinois quarter and is sending the quarter to me in the mail.

The really amazing part of the story is that he is sending it to me for free.  No request for a stamp in return, not a request for a quarter in return, but only for me to pay-it-forward.  So the collection will be complete for Jula and will stop at 50 unless we adopt Puerto Rico into the union.  Thank God! And thanks to Chris for doing the right thing as I will pay it forward and blog about it when I do.  Jula, for Grapes Sake, don't start collecting anything else, you're still the Fairest-one-of-all!

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