In a senior living trailer park, five people sat around a table planning activities for the people who lived in this small community. Nothing had been planned for years, making it hard to once again get the ball rolling. Like an extra set of ears, a special dollar bill that had written across it, Smile; someone special loves you was tacked to the bulletin board.
“No one will come,” Larry stated as the first suggestion of activities were brought forth.
“Like no one came to our Stone Soup dinner on Christmas Day,” Dorothy challenged back. She had sent out a personal invitation to all in the park by leaving a flier at each home. “Then who bought all the ingredients we ended up adding into the soup?”
“That was so clever of you,” Shelly giggled, for she could still taste the fragrant soup, with its carrots, potatoes and other vegetables.
“People were lonely and were just curious enough to come out,” Oscar commented. “I know what we had was a lot more appealing than the TV dinner I had planned. But I agree with Larry. A once a month thing. People aren’t going to commit.”
“Why don’t we do a survey. Find out what people want. We can pass out a short flier and see what people think,” Dorothy suggested.
“Do you realize how big this place is?” Magna stated. “There’s at least fifty homes in the park, maybe more. “
“Who among us has a computer?” Dorothy asked, determined to see this through. When Larry reluctantly raised his hand, Dorothy pressed on. “Let think of some questions. From people’s responses, we can plan events.”
Shelly spoke up. “I for one would love something like that. There are all kinds of games we could set up. Or just come together to share a meal.”
Working together the group came up with a simple questionnaire. Since Shelly wanted this, she happily paid for the printing. Each took a stack and passed them out. Setting up a box in the clubhouse, the group waited. By Sunday they were surprised at how many had responded. Meeting again on Monday the community began to sort out the papers.
“Here’s a good one,” Magna laughed. “We can run a dating service.”
“No thank you,” Shelly said, wrinkling her nose. “I’ve been married twice. My first husband, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, the second I buried. I sure as heck don’t want a third.”
“Who said you have to marry them,” Oscar shot back.
“Someone has suggested a monthly Bunco game,” Magna responded. “That might be fun.”
“Another,” Dorothy interjected so they wouldn’t get off track, “wants us to celebrate the holidays each month. News Years Day is just in two days.”
“Not enough time,” Larry argued.
“My Stone Soup only took an invitation. Why are you such a naysayer?”
“Because he doesn’t want a bunch of people hanging out in what Larry’s come to consider his private space,” Magna challenged with a glint in her eyes.
“Not true,” Larry responded with some indignation. “In fact, to prove my point, I’ll volunteer to organize this nonsense of celebrating New Year’s Day.”
“Done,” the other four shouted.
In response, Larry’s eyes went wide at what he’d just gotten saddled with.
Leaning over, Shelly patted his arm. “We’ll all help out.”
Determined to make this work, they began to make a chart, set forth ideas for future events, and other items needed. Knowing whatever was planned, a cleanup committee had to be part of every event, that too was added.
The response to getting together on New Year’s Day was well received by the community. As the room was made ready, someone realized they’d need more ice than planned. Shelly volunteered to make a run to the store. “Here,’ Larry said plucking the dollar bill off the wall. “Apparently no one is claiming this. Why don’t you use it?” At the store Shelly bought what was needed, passing the dollar bill on.
With the rush of the holiday crowd, the clerk didn’t see the odd bill. As money was gathered from registers, it was once more passed on. In the store’s office, the manager spotted the bill in the excess cash.
Battered, wrinkled and a bit frayed, the bill was intact. “Hello,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you back. Looks like you’ve had quite an adventure. Why don’t I give you rest?’ Since he was alone, the manager settled at his desk. Taking a fresh dollar bill out of his wallet, he took a red pen and once more wrote the words Smile; someone special loves you on it.
Later when someone called for change, he made sure the new bill with the amount of money being exchanged today. As for the other, he gave it a place of honor by framing it and placing it on the wall at home.
As with many things in life, they come to an end. I hope you enjoyed the journey of the one-dollar bill which began on January 2nd, 2019.