On a Dying Wish

10 dimes.

One of the last wishes of the 82 year old man in the cardiac ward of the hospital was that he be buried with ten dimes in one of his front pockets. That wasn’t the only odd request the old man made. He also wanted to have a roll of cherry Lifesavers and some Tootsie Rolls, two of his favorite candies, buried with him. He had always enjoyed smoking cigarettes and was known to his friends to drink and have a taste for decent whiskey, so he asked also to be buried with a pack of smokes and a fifth as well. 

It was the request about the dimes that puzzled some people at the time. In the old man’s mind, the dimes were a sort of a talisman, a good luck-type sense of security, a touchstone of sorts. 

You see, when the man died in 1998, pay phones were becoming obsolete rapidly. Besides, even a local call cost at least $.25. Yet, to this old geezer, he always told people that he kept the dollar’s worth of dimes to make sure that he would have enough to use a payphone for an extended period if he needed to.

And that’s what was odd. 35 years before he died, this man’s son had been kidnapped. The kidnappers insisted on communicating only through payphones. The man (who had a great deal of money) made the arrangements over payphones to pay the ransom, and he did so. His son was released after only a couple of days being held. 

Oh, of course, the kidnappers were caught and prosecuted. But the man never forgot the fear, the dread, of what might have happen if he had  needed to use a payphone and did not have enough change. So that’s why he kept one dollar’s worth of dimes with him at all times, and it’s why he insisted that he be buried with them in one of his front pockets.

And so when you visit the grave of Frank Sinatra, you can be certain that those 10 dimes are still with him.

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