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Human Money Tree

I learned of a cultural phenomenon that apparently has been around for ages and I’m just becoming privy to…or is it: to which I became privy?

This isn’t a grammar lesson, and the custom has nothing to do with the English language, it has to do with birthdays.

In the local Black community, guests bring money and pin it to the birthday honoree’s shirt or blouse. I don’t know if this is a common tradition throughout the country, but this seems like a great idea! The birthday-ee may also receive gifts, but money is the overall favorite. And the birthday boy or girl, man or woman makes certain there are plenty of straight pins available. I have never heard of this unique tradition and I wonder how we have missed it in the white community?

I remember as a small child I had eye surgery and one of our neighbors brought me a long piece of tape with coins stuck to it. I have never been more thrilled about any gift than that. Somehow, being able to touch those pennies, nickels, dimes and even a quarter was something special. So can you imagine what it must feel like when you are covered with dollar bills, $5s, $10’s, and $20’s? What a rush!

No one seems to know when or how this custom started, but it continues to be alive and well even today. One woman said she had more than $800 pinned to her when she celebrated her 65th birthday. Now that’s a Party, folks!

As I recall, the only thing we pinned at birthday parties was the tail on the donkey, and that’s if we were lucky! Somehow that just doesn’t have the same spark as pinning money on a person.

I’m waiting for an invitation to a birthday party so I can participate in this fun game…actually I’m waiting for my next birthday party and I do expect a bunch of money pinned all over me. I hope to be parading around with cash dripping off of me…what a nice idea.

And yes, that is a hint to those who know and love me. At my age it beats the heck out of a box of Depends from my loving but more practical friends.

2 thoughts on “Human Money Tree

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