Gold and Silver Grandpa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

While trying to teach his clever granddaughter a lesson about the worth of gold and silver, a grandfather ends up getting a very expensive lesson of his own.

June 6, 2021 – Bozeman, Montana, USA

Wooden blocks and trains lay scattered across the living room rug.  Danny Flores’ six-year-old granddaughter, Sophie, was obviously bored.  She had abandoned the toys Danny had hoped would keep her entertained and was whimpering to her parents that she wanted to go home.

“There’s nothing to do here,” cried Sophie.

“How about we go for a walk?” suggested Danny.  “I saw some pretty wildflowers growing on the ridge at the end of the road.”

“Maybe we should be going home,” said Danny’s son.  “Sophie likes her regular routine after dinner.  Anything different can make her cranky.”

Danny looked around for something that might interest a six-year-old.  The walls of his house were meant to look rustic, like a log cabin.  They were decorated with old saws and mining tools, but he knew those only scared Sophie.

“Hold on a minute.  I’ve got something to show you that I think Sophie will like,” said Danny, jumping to his feet and scurrying toward his bedroom.  He came back carrying a heavy lockbox the size of a toaster oven.

“I bet I know what’s in there,” said Danny’s son with an eyeroll.  “Tell me you’re not going to get Sophie obsessed with the whole silver and gold thing.”

Danny set the box on the living room’s coffee table and turned a dial to unlock it.  “You know that gold and silver are the only things that hold their value,” Danny said to his son as he opened the box’s lid.  “If the worst happens, a number on a bank statement won’t buy you anything.  Same thing with your paper money.”

“I know, I know,” said Danny’s son as if he was already bored with the conversation.

“But I’m not here to give you a lecture,” said Danny.  “I want to show Sophie some beautiful things she might like to hold.”

Danny fished through the box and pulled out three large silver coins.  He set them on the coffee table, one at a time.  “These are one-ounce rounds.  Sophie, come and look.”

Sophie walked to the short table and stared down at the three coins.

“You can pick them up if you want,” said Danny.

Sophie examined each coin, turning them over in her hands to admire the designs on the front and back.  She stacked the coins on top of each other and listened to the sound they made as she clanked them together.

“What do you see on them?” asked Danny.

“There’s a lady, like the Statue of Liberty.  And there’s an eagle on the other side.  And this one has a koala.  And this one has a skier.”

“That’s right,” said Danny.  “The one with the koala came all the way from Australia.  And the skier is to celebrate the winter Olympics.”

Sophie continued to run her fingers over the coins as Danny described how silver was mined and how money used to be made from silver.  “Which one of those coins do you like the best?” he asked his granddaughter.

Sophie thought hard about it before saying, “The one with the koala.”

“Would you like to keep it?”

“Can I really?”

“Sure,” said Danny, thrilled by the excitement in Sophie’s eyes.

“You can’t give her that, Dad,” said Danny’s son.  “It’s worth too much.  How much does an ounce of silver cost these days?  Twenty-five dollars?”

“It’s okay.  I want her to have it.  Look how excited she it,” Danny said with a chuckle.  “Now she’ll want to come over to her grandpa’s house more often.  Won’t you Sophie?”

Sophie nodded her head as she stood up, clutching the koala coin close to her chest.

“How about you come over next week and I’ll have more coins to show you?”

“Can we Dad?  Can we Mom?” Sophie asked, turning from one parent to the other.

“We’ll see,” said Sophie’s dad.

“I better dig up some things she’ll like,” said Danny with an eager grin.  “Now Sophie, don’t let your parents try to tell you that the roads are bad and you can’t visit next Sunday.  It’s the middle of the summer and the roads are in great shape.”

In the middle of the next week, Danny drove his pickup truck into downtown Bozeman to visit his favorite precious metals supplier.  Liberty Coin was a small shop with bars over the windows and three long glass display cases.  A thick metal door guarded most of the inventory, which was not on display to the general public and only revealed upon request.

“Hey Pete,” Danny called to the store’s owner.

“You looking to buy or sell?” Pete called back.

“Buy.  Something kind of special.  I showed my granddaughter some silver rounds and she liked them so much, I give her one.  So now I’m looking for more silver.  Coins with interesting designs.”

“You gonna keep giving them away?”

“I was kind of planning on just showing them to her.  Maybe I’ll give her one more.”


“I’ve got some neat ones with tigers on them.  Or how about a Morgan Silver Dollar?”

Pete pulled out a few silver coins from one of his display cases.  Danny picked them up carefully by their edges.

“Yeah, these are perfect.  Give me a Silver Dollar and a tiger.  And now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve got a chance to teach my little Sophie some important lessons.  Like how much more gold is worth and how bigger is not always better.  Maybe she’ll listen better than her dad.”

“What do you have in mind for these lessons?” asked Pete.

“I’ve always wanted to get one of those quarter-ounce gold coins.  I could use it to show Sophie that even if it’s way smaller, it’s still worth 20 times what an ounce of silver is worth.”

“Pretty good lesson if you ask me,” said Pete.  “I’ve got one of those quarter-ouncers right here.”


As Danny held the small coin in his hand, he felt the same gold fever he always did when handling the glowing metal.  He left the shop with over $500 worth of new gold and silver in his pockets.

Sophie and her parents were back at Danny’s house on Sunday.  Sophie asked to sit next to Danny during dinner.

“Can you show me more silver?” asked Sophie sweetly, as she passed a plate of cornbread to her grandfather.

“As soon as we’re done eating,” Danny answered excitedly.  “You’re going to love what I found for you.”

Sophies big brown eyes grew even bigger to show she could hardly wait.  She and Danny moved to the living room coffee table while everyone else was still eating dessert.  Danny carefully presented the Morgan Silver Dollar and the tiger coin.

“What do you think of those?” asked Danny.

“Oh, they’re pretty,” cried Sophie, picking up the silver circles and watching the light reflect from their surface.

“That one used to be used as a dollar,” said Danny.  “But now it’s worth a lot more.  You see the lady on the front side?  That’s Lady Liberty.”

Sophie continued to play with the coins as Danny happily explained how a dollar used to be worth a dollar because of the amount of silver in it and how silver was mixed with copper to make the coin harder.

“You know, a silver dollar is pretty big, but bigger isn’t always better.  Now I’m going to show you something made out of gold.”  Danny pulled the quarter-ounce gold coin from his pocket and laid it next to a one-ounce silver round.  The gold circle looked small in comparison.  “That’s real gold,” said Danny.

“Wow!  It’s pretty too,” cried Sophie.

“If you look close, you can see Lady Liberty on the gold, but this time she’s standing.  And on the back are a nest of eagles.”

Sophie studied the gold carefully and said, “Yeah, I see them.”

By this time, Danny’s son had moved over to the coffee table to listen to his father’s lesson.

“Now gold costs more than silver.  A lot more,” continued Danny.  “So let’s see if you can figure out which one is most valuable.  If I was to let you choose to take one of these coins, which one would you choose?”

Sophie batted her big eyes at her grandfather and then studied the coins for almost a minute.  Then she pointed to the Silver Dollar.  “This one.”

Danny laughed and said to his son, “I don’t think she understood my lesson.”


“Were you actually going to give her what she picked?” his son asked him.

Danny chuckled and said, “Well I guess it can’t hurt to give her the Silver Dollar.”  He picked it up and handed it to Sophie.  “Here you go.”

“Oh, thank you, Grandpa,” said Sophie, rushing to drape her arms over him in a long hug.

“Well, that’s the biggest hug you’ve ever given me,” gushed Danny.  “I thought you’d gotten too old to give your grandpa hugs.”

“No, not me,” replied Sophie.  “Are you going to show me more about coins when I see you next week?”

“If you want,” said Danny with another chuckle.  “But you have to promise me you’ll read about gold and silver before then.  Maybe your dad will help you.”

Sophie promised she would learn all about gold and silver, but after the next week’s dinner, she did not have any answers when Danny quizzed her about values and weights of coins.  He showed her gold and silver pieces anyway and let Sophie keep the silver coin she preferred.

Sophie continued to loudly pester her parents about seeing her “Silver Grandpa” and family dinners became more regular than they had been in the past.  Sometimes dinner was at Danny’s house and sometimes he had to pack up his precious metals and drive to his son’s place closer to town.  He kept trying to get through to Sophie that gold was more valuable than silver.  To drive the point home, he cleaned and polished his quarter-ounce gold coin until it glowed from across the room.  Then he roughed up a silver coin, leaving it looking grimy.

“Take a look at these,” he said to Sophie.  “Look how shiny the little one is compared to the big one.  Wouldn’t you rather have the gold?”

Sophie took a close and thoughtful look.  “No.  I like the silver one.”


Danny laughed and said, “If you weren’t so cute, you’d drive me crazy.”

“So can I have the silver one?” Sophie asked sweetly.

“Sure.  Go ahead.”

The Montana summer ended, the trees lost all their leaves, and the first snow fell.  The slick and muddy roads did not bother Danny, especially when Sophie called to make sure he was coming to dinner.  Liberty Coin continued to supply him with interesting silver rounds, and Danny continued turning them over to Sophie.

“You ever known anyone who liked the look of silver more than gold?” Danny asked Pete, his coin supplier.

“Can’t think of anybody,” said Pete.  “Gold is special.  Most people can’t tell the difference between silver and aluminum.”

“That’s what I thought, but my little granddaughter is crazy about silver.  She likes the look of it more than gold.”

“You taught her your lesson about how gold is worth more?”

“Lots of times, but she doesn’t seem to understand.”

“Why don’t you buy a whole stack of silver coins and put them next to a little gold one.  Tell her they’re worth the same.  Then she’ll understand.”


“Good idea.  Give me your best deal on a stack of silver.”

When Danny drove to his son’s house that Sunday, he put the tall stack of 25 coins in front of Sophie and then showed her the little piece of gold.  “This gold coin costs as much as all of this silver,” he said to her.  “So if you had to choose only one of the silver coins or the gold one, which one would you take?”

Sophie reached over, and one by one, pulled each silver coin from the stack.  She inspected the front and the back.  Then she pointed to one decorated with the image of a horse.  “I’ll take that one.”

“But the gold one could buy you twenty-five of the silver ones.”

“I like the horse,” said Sophie stubbornly.

Danny smiled and shook his head.  “I must not be a very good teacher.  I don’t think I’m getting through to you.”

“So can I have the horse?”

“Sure, take the horse.”

As much as Danny loved Sophie and the way she snuggled up to him, he began to worry there was something wrong in her head.  What if she could not understand numbers?  What was she going to be like as a teenager or a young adult?  If she did not understand money or value, she would spend more than she had.  People would take advantage of her.  One weekend in December, he decided he would make one final attempt to reach her.

“Are we going to play gold and silver?” Sophie asked him.

“One last time,” replied Danny.  On the table in front of him, he placed his gold coin next to a larger silver one.  Danny made sure his son was watching and listening.  “Now Sophie, since we started looking at coins, I’ve given you 23 ounces of silver.  But I’m afraid you haven’t learned anything about what they’re worth.”

Sophie stared back at him with eager, innocent eyes.

“I’m going to let you choose one last time, okay?”

“Okay.”


“You understand that Grandpa’s been trying to teach you a lesson?”

“Yes.”


“And he’s been telling you that gold is more valuable than silver?”

“Yes.”

“Then why do you keep picking the silver?”


Sophie’s face grew serious.  “I don’t know if I should say.”

Danny chuckled.  “You can tell me.  Don’t be afraid.  Whatever it is, I’ll understand.”

Sophie acted like it hurt to get the words out as she said, “If I picked the gold one, I knew you’d stop playing.  You’d stop giving me the silver.”

Danny leaned back in his chair as he realized what had been going on.  He looked sheepishly at his son and then laughed at himself.  “You know, I was actually worried people were going to take advantage of her.  Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”  Danny shook his head and laughed again.  “You’re a shrewd one Miss Sophie.”

“If this is really the last time to play, I pick the gold one,” said Sophie.

Danny pushed both the gold and silver coins toward her.  “Add them to your collection.  You’ve turned your Silver Grandpa into your Poor Grandpa.”

 

For more stories like this one, including audio versions, please visit 500ironicstories.com


Submitted: July 24, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Aaron Hawkins. All rights reserved.

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