Story #12 - Uncle Sam and Aunt Barbara

   I have my very own “Uncle Sam,” my mother’s younger brother.  He and my Aunt Barbara live in Bellingham, Washington.  Through my mom mostly, they have heard about these dimes and have jumped all over it.  If there are any two people more zealous about dimes than I, they are my uncle and aunt.   I think the first story they told me about a dime took place in Arizona.  They are “Fifth Wheel” people and they travel all over the country staying in Wal-Mart parking lots wherever they go.  One night they were walking to dinner and my aunt saw a dime in the middle of the crosswalk.  She bent down to pick it up, all excited, but it had melted into the asphalt due to the heat.  She got out a fingernail file to pry it out while my uncle steered the traffic around her.  She couldn’t get it out, so he took out his pocketknife to pry it out while she directed traffic around him.  Here are these two seasoned citizens, down on all fours, in the middle of a busy intersection in Arizona, trying to pry out a dime from the soft asphalt under their feet.  What a sight!  They finally liberated that dime and proudly told me their story. 

     My uncle who has suffered with cerebral palsy his entire life has never backed away from any challenge.  In one of his latest challenges he decided to put in a “trailer port” in their backyard.  This entailed taking down a fence, taking up some lawn, putting down some gravel and installing a large gate.  As he began to tear up the sod he found 15 dimes within a 15-square foot swath of grass.  He couldn’t wait to tell me.  When he told me, I asked him how many square feet of lawn they had in their backyard.  He guessed 5,000, so I encouraged him to tear up the rest of the lawn because at that rate, he’d find $500 worth of dimes.  I don’t think he did it though.

     Now, they’re into “can collecting.”  They go through the streets of Bellingham opening people’s garbage cans and retrieving aluminum cans.  I don’t think I’ll live long enough to care to do this, but they love it.  To them, it’s a treasure hunt every morning!  He called me on Father’s Day 2006, to tell me that they just took their month’s-worth of cans down to the recycling center and now have 1,440 more dimes to donate.  They often send me a check for the dimes they have acquired, one way or another...it’s usually for $200 or more.  God is blessing them, and thousands of Africans through them.