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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Value of a Gift

My Granddad built the house in which I grew
from birth to adulthood. Not solo, but with
builders working under him. A master plasterer,
he turned his hand to many trades. Three bedrooms,
end of terrace and two loos (unusual back then)
and solid as a medieval castle. (You could not
knock a nail in any of its walls, was his
proud boast.) The total cost: one hundred pounds.

My granddad gave me once a golden guinea
to keep safe. Years later I would lose it
moving house. That would have pained him, but
by then, granddad had died, and dad had learned
the house was still insured for that one hundred pounds.
(Granddad would never trust insurance companies
or banks - Low, robbing buggers was his phrase for them.)
By then the house was worth around six thousand.

A conundrum for you: what was the value of
my granddad's gift to me? A guinea - one pound
and five p in our new money? Even then
the coin was worth far more than its face value,
but to me the value of a gift is what
it cost the giver. Granddad, seemingly, thought he'd
given me a coin worth one per cent of what
the house was worth - or sixty pounds just then.
Half that, maybe, back when the gift was given.


sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,WOW!you described the value of gift beautifully,i want to add something,the gift which is given with love even a coin has mor value than diamond.

Andy Sewina said...

Phew, they say that memories are worth their weight in gold, but I think they are priceless, when you've sold the gold (or lost it) your memories still live on. Perhaps a case of having your cake and eating it.

Isabel Doyle said...

How would an accountant tot up the value of your gifts from your granddad - all your inheritance, your memories, your genes, the values you live by - a large measure of who you are?

Wonderful poem Mr King but I fear I am getting carried away again ...

Isabel x

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


I enjoyed reading about your memories and the importance of them to you today.
I have similar memories of my paternal grandfather.
It was never about the money back then, or nor is it about the monetary value now. It is about the very simple act of giving and within that, the bond of associated memories.
In any monetary calculations, priceless!!


Mary said...

I agree with Isabel Doyle. The gift your grandfather gave you lives inside you! The lost coin - small in proportion.

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh so beautiful and thoughtful. I agree with what everyone has already said: true gifts come from the heart.

ArtistUnplugged said...

What a treasure, shared so beautifully too. Thanks for doing so.

Andy said...

Visiting from The Poetry Pantry.

Even though the coin is lost. The gift is priceless because it was given straight from the heart...you can't place monetary value on memories.

Very nice post.
Thanks for sharing.

Undress Me With Your Sultry Eyes

Friko said...

How sad that you mislaid the coin; perhaps granddad hoped it would become the foundation of a solid nestegg, just as his house was the solid shelter for a family.

rch said...

Perhaps the true gift has just been revealed in this wonderful poem, enjoyed reading.

JeannetteLS said...

Your home. This memory and how many in between? The sure knowledge of what the guinea was to him. All gifts to you. And now your grandad has given to us through you.

Seems just about priceless to me, Dave.

Windsmoke. said...

I reckon its the thought that counts no matter what the cost :-).

The Gooseberry Garden said...

you aRE blessed then,

every word counts, powerful piece of poetry, it is revealing to get to know yourself and your relation or emotion of your family members.

Dave King said...

Very true, sunny.

Interesting thought. I'm sure that's true, though it hadn't occurred to me - not in that precise form.

Carried away in the right direction, though. They are the important questions, I agree - though I've no idea what the accountant would make of them.

Thanks for those reflections. I do agree that it is not about the money - though I rather think my Grandfather would have thought it was!

Absolutely, that is so!

And should be received by the heart.

Thank you for this.

Hi Andy. Good to have you visiting and to have your response. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Yes, I'm sure that was so.

Hi and welcome to the blog. A lovely thought. Thank you for it.

Thank you so much for that lovely thought. It is good to have your reflections.

I do so agree.

The Gooseberry Garden
Thank you very much for this lovely response.

Jim Murdoch said...

I have long been fascinated between the relationship between cost, price, value and worth; none of them are ever as obvious as they seem.

GrandparentsRoc said...

What a wonderful way of expression. A gift is given for so many special reasons. The love and memories within the gift is forever.