Last year I was working at the bank on the Friday before Valentine's Day. A man, probably in his late 60's, came to my window to make a cash deposit. The stack totaled just under $2000 in mixed denominations, and all of the currency was of the older design, dating mostly in the 80's and 90's. I was curious - maybe he was one of those that kept money buried in a tin can in his back yard. I made a comment like, "Wow, this is some pretty old money." He kind of half-smiled and shrugged, "I guess."
I could tell he didn't want to talk, so I didn't press any further. In my mind I was judging him as just another grumpy old customer. He stood quietly as I continued to count his money. I finished the transaction and handed him his receipt, "Is there anything else I can do for you today?" He stood there for a second and then said, "Well, since it's Valentine's Day, I'll tell you a love story. My wife died seven years ago, but the whole time we were married she charged me a quarter for each of my shirts that she washed and ironed. That money is all the money that she earned from me and kept in her trunk."
I don't know what made him decide that today was the day to part with it, but I knew that the love and memories attached to the currency far exceeded its cash value. His story touched me so much that I had another teller swap one of the bills so that I could buy it. Now I keep it in my dresser drawer as a little reminder to enjoy the simple and sweet moments in my marriage that I sometimes take for granted. Because someday when we're a grumpy old married couple, those are the moments I want to remember.