My wife and I married in 1974, right after high school, and our two sons came along one and four years later. For the first twenty-five years of our marriage, I worked at a number of blue-collar jobs and my wife stayed home with the kids. Throughout that long stretch, we didn’t have two nickels in the checking account after the monthly bills were paid. Finances, or the lack thereof, were a regular cause of frustration and friction in our marriage, which is not all that uncommon from what I’ve read.
When the boys were young, Friday nights were special. My wife would give me a shopping list and our two boys and myself would head over to the Wegmans grocery store on East Henrietta Road to buy food supplies for another week. Always on the list were a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a jar of Pace picante sauce, which we would enthusiastically scarf down while watching TV after we got home. Back in those days, there were plenty of decent television shows for the family on Friday nights like “The Hulk,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Knight Rider,” and “Air Wolf.”
Things were so tight financially that I always brought my red “Handy Counter”* clicker adding device (see top photo) along on our grocery outings. After I placed an item into the grocery cart, I would press the appropriate keys on the clicker to keep a running tally. We had a budget for our groceries and I tried to keep the total close to the goal. As we got to the last few aisles of the grocery store, it often became an exercise of returning some non-essential items back to the store shelves in order to stay within the budget. Inexpensive hand-held electronic calculators were introduced in the late-1970s, but I preferred my rugged clicker for the grocery shopping outings. It was actually much easier to operate than a calculator because I didn’t even have to look at it when I pressed the keys. I had to replace the clicker every year or so, but it was amazing they lasted as long as they did because of all of the cheap plastic parts (including plastic gears).
Later on in our marriage, I got my degree from night school and made some advancements at Kodak. My wife also went to school and began a career as a nurse. But additional income brings other problems and challenges. Then, in the summer of 2019, I was laid off after 43 years at Kodak and my wife was forced to leave her job because of health problems. But the Lord has provided for us in amazing ways this past year. We still watch our budget, but I don’t need to bring a clicker with me to the grocery store. Back in the day, I used to see (and hear) other frugal shoppers using a clicker at the grocery store, but I haven’t seen or heard one in maybe thirty years. I checked the internet and some vintage clickers like the one in the photo are available on ebay.
Thank you, Lord, for providing for us then and now!
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34
*The Handy Counter clicker was manufactured in Hong Kong for Kitchen King Company located in Central Islip, N.Y.