Home Country

Before Herb Collins retired, he owned a pawn shop up in the city. A successful pawn shop. And one of the ways he likes to repay society for his good fortune is to speak to the fifth graders at our local elementary school during Career Week.

And that’s why he was here again this year, attempting to springboard any number of ten-year-olds into the glories of buying low and selling high.

But this year there was a difference. Some of the kids were looking over at Jimmy Thomas and Elise Jamison and couldn’t control their giggles. Jimmy and Elise, however, tried to look very sober and businesslike.

When Herb got close to the end of his time in front of the class, he asked, as he does each year, if there were any questions.

Jimmy and Elise raised their hands. Herb pointed to Elise.

“Mr. Collins,” she said, “in these days of insecurity in the market place, how would the use of debentures stack up as an alternative to trade?”

Herb stammered. “Well, I’m not real sure about that, young lady. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

He saw Jimmy’s hand in the air. “Yes,” he said, pointing at him.

“Mr. Collins,” Jimmy said, “wouldn’t the use of unsecured bonds be counterintuitive to the agreement we currently share with other members of the World Bank?”

“Uh …”

Herb looked at his watch and excused himself to keep an appointment he didn’t

realize he had until he needed it.

The kids cracked up. So did the teacher. “Okay,” she said, “good job you two.

How did you guys come to ask those questions?”

“Doc wrote ‘em down for us,” Jimmy said.

Brought to you by Home Country (the book), published by Rio Grande Press. www.riograndepress.com.

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