thirty one cents. (and lots of interest due)


many years ago

way back in first grade

i took thirty one cents

from hillman bailey III’s open desk

it was a matter of greed and opportunity

that spurred me on

i was really wanting candy from the store

 sitting right in front of me

there appeared thirty one cents

almost dropping in my lap

i would repay hillman one day

when i got a job

at least this is all what i told myself

when i bought candy at the store

with my windfall

it didn’t taste as good as i expected

 feeling lousy inside

i never told hillman

never made any attempt to make the situation right

but over the years i’ve thought about it

from time to time

 today when paying cash at the grocery store

 thirty one cents

dropped into the change slot

 left it for the next person

maybe they had a child who wanted candy

 silently said i was sorry

donated it back into the universe

on behalf of hillman bailey III

trying to make good on my word.

“guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”

-erma bombeck

81 responses »

  1. Sorry—I haven’t quite got past the fact that not only was there someone named Hillman Bailey, but apparently they were so pleased with the name that they produced Hillman Bailey Jr, followed by Hillman Bailey III. I wonder if there is a similarity afflicted Hillman Bailey IV—possibly even with with little HB-V already in planning stages.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think many of us have done similar things in the past, but the guilt never goes away does it, not even after many years. Wellm now you have paid your debt and hopefully Karma will smile on you a little more as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. today your “borrowing” would have been recorded on a camera for the world to see.

    and as an aside, according to my calculations, 31 cents at 4 percent interest would be worth $2.20 fifty years later…

    Hillman may be looking to collect the full amount…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog, and lo and behold I find my name – Hillman – popping up! That aside, this is a great tale of how naughty things we did in the past, no matter how trivial they seemed at the time, can haunt us forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great quote! Raised Catholic, guilt was drummed into is at an early age. Your anecdote reminded me of an incident at school. (What doesn’t remind me of school?) A woman (now an adult), who had attended the school years before, sent the school $3.00 along with a note saying that she had taken $1.00 from the school when she was a child. She was trying to teach her daughter a lesson about doing the right thing and correcting a past mistake. I think she sent extra because of inflation. We never forget those small lessons life teaches us—the same as you. Thanks for sharing, Beth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think we all have stories like this. I remember when my oldest son was about 4, had brought home a toy from his cousin’s house. He liked it and wanted it, so he stuck it in his pocket. We eventually returned it, and told him he could always play with it when he was there. I don’t know that his cousin ever missed it, but had we not found it in his pants pocket, we may not have ever known he took it.

    I wonder how many times something went missing at my house it was because a friend had to have something of mine….

    Nice story and resolution.

    Liked by 2 people

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