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Fifty cent miracle

By Mark Stinson
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005

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Chatham County, NC - Have you ever looked at fifty cents and thought "this ain't much?" I guess two quarters doesn’t seem to be a great fortune but it can be depending on your certain point of view.

Thursday, December 29th and I had exactly fifty cents to my name.

I had written a $260 check to Wal Mart Christmas eve to buy groceries and Christmas for my kids. That’s not a fortune unless you consider I sat in the parking lot balancing my check book to come up with a whopping $14 total after all of my checks cleared. I knew I had an overdraft but hate like a purple passion to use it. It costs $32 per check and the general impression I get from the bank is I am stealing from them any time I use it so I just don’t.

I decided to play Christmas roulette and write a check to cover my kids Christmas and groceries we didn’t have. I managed to squeak by with the bare necessities and I checked my online balance Sunday night. I was not happy to see that I had two outstanding checks that should have cleared that haven’t hit the bank yet. I called them first thing the next business day to be informed the Wal Mart check would post that night. With this in mind it would cause the remaining two checks to go into overdraft as well as sinking me deep with nearly $100 worth of overdraft fees.

Oh well.

Mama had an upper and lower GI on Wednesday where they removed three pollops and gave her a good bill of health to our relief. I nearly ran out of gas bringing her home and to my dismay found we were running out of milk, bread and other grocery items the kids eat up quickly. I had a possible small amount of money that was to arrive that didn’t that evening. I let my oldest son go for an overnight visit with his friend CJ in Pittsboro.

This brings me to Thursday morning with a grand total of fifty cents in my pocket looking at a nearly empty gas tank and refrigerator. I put the change in my pocket and decided that a little change and a little faith was all I had so it would have to do.

My daddy always said things will work out, we may not like how they work out but they always do so just have faith and hang in there. After putting myself in a better frame of mind I ventured out of the house to my office to check my emails. I saw the mail lady through the front window so I went to my mail box. I got a surprise from one of Santa’s helpers to the effect of $200 in my mail box. I was in a much better frame of mind but I knew the bank would eat that and then some. I got in my van and watched the gas needle all the way to Pittsboro. I arrived at my bank to deposit as much as I could and hopefully keep $10 for gas. I explained the situation to my banker and she pulled up my account. I told her I wasn’t sure how fast I could clear up my account but I would bring more in the first of the month when my check arrived. She looked at my account and related a surprising revelation. The check I was told would post earlier in the week to bury me in over draft, never posted.

I said how? And she said it hadn’t and I replied that I was informed it was at the bank earlier in the week. Well it hasn’t and you had two more checks clear leaving $105 in your account. I scratched my head and knew my math couldn’t be that bad or my hearing for that matter. I made a $160 deposit to clear the last uncashed check I had out my Christmas check to Wal Mart. I left the bank almost in shock and went directly to the gas station where I found $5 on the ground next to the pump to add to the $40 I had left.

I got gas and then went to Food Lion. Every item I needed was either on sale, buy one get one free or an MVP item. I got everything I needed and went after Tristan. He hadn’t eaten yet so I counted up what little was left and hit Hardees to buy him a cheeseburger. I made it home with more gas than I left with, a clear bank account , the bare necessities from the grocery and a child with a full tummy and exactly fifty cents in my pocket.

This proves the point that nothing is impossible, improbable maybe but there are always possibilities and fifty cents and a little faith can go a long way especially at Christmas

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