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Wealth Beyond Description or theTwenty Dollar Bill

Story ID:7386
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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More memories from my past...

Wealth Beyond Description or the Twenty Dollar Bill
By Chuck Dishno

About 1948 I was sweeping out the movie theater each night in lieu of the 11 cent admission. I know that sounds like slave labor but times were tough then in Bly, Oregon. I could easily walk a mile or two and collect beer bottles to be sold for 1 cent each at the local beer joint but I had too much competition from the other boys in town. Sweeping the theater was much easier and only took about 30 minutes 6 days a week.

In sweeping the theater, I would start at the back and with a push broom, push all the bags and cups to the side aisle. I then would push it down the aisle to the back door, pick it up and put it into a 30 galvanized gallon barrel. This would then be put into the furnace room and used to light the next nightís fire.

By the next evening the previous nights coals would be cold and we would place the wood on top of the sweepings. A lot of work for 11 cents but the movies were good and usually a double feature.

One evening as I pushed the pile near the back door I spotted what I thought was a 1 dollar bill. When I bent over and picked it up, my heart almost stopped. It was a 20 dollar bill!

The theater owner, George, was standing close to me but didnít see what I had found. We were always finding small change that had dropped out of someoneís pocket and the rule was ďfinders keepersĒ. I didnít see any difference between this find and a dime or two so I just put it into my pocket and kept my mouth shut.

In retrospect, I think I did ask George, a few days later, if anyone had reported anything missing. He said he hadnít heard of anything. I know I would have turned it over if anyone had reported it lost. At least I think I would have.

What a find! I had never had a 20 dollar bill in my life and I couldnít wait to get home and admire it.

Each day when I would sweep the theater, I would dread the time when George would come to me and say, someone had lost a large bill. I was ready with and answer saying that if it was in the trash it must have been burned up by now. Damn, I was devious in trying to be honest. Actually it was burning a hole in my pocket right then.

After a couple of weeks without anyone reporting the loss, I figured it was mine.

It was the richest I have ever been. It is the only time in my life I ever had enough money to buy more than I wanted. I guess you canít get richer than that.

I honestly donít remember what I did with my find or what I might have bought with it but the memory of the richest day in my life has stayed with me to this day.

I hope the person who lost the 20 didnít suffer too much over my find. I know I suffered guilt, but not for long, and much elation over the incident.

It may have been Godís way of testing me. I am sorry now that I didnít put at least part of it in the collection box at church.