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May 12th, 2011

My Father's Wallet

My Dad, George Gardner, was, to put it mildly, frugal.   Maybe it comes from being a depression era baby raised in a small town, I don't know.  But Dad was a penny pincher.  He'd save every nut, bolt and old nail in coffee cans and old baby food jars in the garage, fixing everything with bailing wire and duct tape and string and things from those baby food jars and cans (long before McGuyver ever came along).   Dad was a mechanic and could fix most cars -- other things not so well, but he tried.  I often say that he wouldn't spend money on food when we went skiing and in order to maximize the number of runs we'd eat cold baloney sandwiches and an orange while riding the lift.   Some folks think that's a joke.  Its not.

As kids we got an allowance -- I think by the time I was 12 it was a whopping $5 a month.  And we were encouraged to work -- I got my first jobs when I was 14 and have worked ever since.   But if we needed extra money, Dad would sometimes pry open his wallet, while complaining "What am I, a bank?!"

So last week while in Las Vegas, I happened to drive by my Dad's bank.  The Bank Of George.  Complete with an ATM!   The interesting thing is that this was founded in 2007 - the year my father passed away.  Makes me wonder if this is his revenge in the afterlife -- being a banker handing out money.  The bank was closed, so I couldn't see what their interest rates were, but it's probably like the Knickerbocker Bank in the movie "Auntie Mame" -- so conservative they don't pay any interest at all!

Back when we were kids there was no such thing as an ATM.  I'm sure folks now say to their kids "I'm not an ATM" when they ask for money.  Oh how I would have loved to have had a picture of this back in the day when Dad used to say  "What am I, a bank?"  

And I would answer:  "Why yes, yes you are" while making a withdrawal from the ATM at The Bank of George -- established 2007.   Fork it over pops!  I'll give you a receipt!

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