A Jingle in My Pocket

By Joyce Dahlberg

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    Eric was excited. He had a jingle in his pocket!

    Today he had his own money to spend. He was going to go shopping with his mother.

    At the store, Eric saw rows of candy, toys, and books. What should I buy? he wondered. He studied everything on the shelves. “Mom, I’m going to buy that big dump truck,” he said proudly.

    His mother turned over the box to check the price and shook her head. “I’m sorry, honey, you need many more dimes and nickels to buy this truck. Do you want to wait and save enough money?”

    Eric felt very sad. He slipped his hand into his pocket to feel the smooth coins. “Let’s look around some more,” he suggested.

    He paused by the games and puzzles. But he had plenty of those already.

    Then Eric saw something he hadn’t seen before. “Look, Mom, books!” he shouted, and raced toward the shelf. Eric loved books. Softly he touched the covers—a fuzzy puppy, a colorful circus train, and a barn full of farm animals.

    “Mom,” Eric called, “I’ll buy this clock book and learn how to tell time. Then I’ll know when it’s time to go to Primary and to bed.”

    Mom smiled in agreement as they walked quickly to the cashier. “How much, please?” asked Eric.

    “Thirty-five cents, young man,” she replied.

    Eric jingled the coins in his pocket. Then he took out four dimes. “Is that enough?” he asked.

    “It certainly is,” the clerk answered. “And here’s your change.”

    “Wow, I get a whole nickel back!” Eric exclaimed excitedly, and he put it in his pocket with the dime and other nickel.

    Mom watched to be sure Eric held the package tightly. She noticed he slid a hand in his pocket to feel the remaining dime and nickels.

    “Let’s celebrate,” Mother suggested. “Do you know a boy who likes doughnuts?”

    Eric smiled broadly and said, “I’ll treat you today.”

    At the bakery Eric pointed to a doughnut inside the case.

    “We’ll have that big frosted one,” he said with a smile.

    “Thank you, honey, for sharing your treat with me,” said his mother.

    Eric gave the lady all his money and waited to see if she’d give him any change back. She returned from the cash register and pushed two pennies toward him. “There, young man. Now you have two more pennies to spend.”

    Eric laughed happily as they finished their doughnut and went back to the car. When they got home he burst from the car to find Dad.

    “Dad, guess what! I bought a new book, and then I treated Mom and me to a doughnut. And best of all—I still have a jingle in my pocket!”

    Illustrated by Julie Fuhriman