Saturday, July 13, 2024

Definition of Money


I was driving along when I heard a radio talk show host tell me that I should get cash and put it in a safety deposit box because next year was going to be bumpy and I was going to need it. As my mind said ‘woah’, I had to fight the automatic urge to let my foot hit the brakes in the car. The words obviously made sense to the commentator, but they didn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps stashing money in a safe deposit box is good advice for some but I know it’s not good advice for me. (When I mentioned this to Sonny he said, “Banks are in charge of the safety deposit boxes as well as the cash.” To which I replied, “and safety deposit boxes aren’t FDIC insured.”) I’ve spent half a lifetime wondering about the constructs of money from budgeting for bills to considering how thin rectangular green sheets of paper can allow us to exchange goods and services in a civil, organized, tangible method.  Over time I have decided that the function of money is to enable the exchange of goods and to encourage the exchange of skills between individuals, families, and groups, (nations even), that they otherwise could not have access to due to social and/or geographic barriers. That’s the best definition I can come up with.

This definition of money works for me and I’m going to encourage others to make their own definition of money. I’ll be the last one to tell someone else how to think- thinking for ‘self’ is God given and I have no desire or intention of infringing upon what God gives.

As I listened, the commentator told me that their bank made them wait two days to get their money so I should put George Washingtons in a safety deposit box for later. I said to myself, “Self, this person must be bonkers). Money, like rain, is only useful when circulated. If Washingtons, Hamiltons, and Ben Franklins are removed from circulation of what use are they?”

I got home; festered on the commentator’s words; got busy finishing up making chicken broth by taking the meat off the bones of a mean rooster my daughter just butchered because of his attitude towards the egg laying hens. What use is a rooster if he is so mean he causes the hens so much distress they can’t lay eggs? What use is paper money if  there isn’t any meat, eggs, or other protein to purchase so I can rebuild the muscles I use every day because it isn’t circulating? Paper money does not keep body and soul together. Paper money isn’t wealth (just as a map isn’t ground). Paper money represents the intangible we provide to our communities by our actions and skill. It can be mapped by accountants to show how we help or hinder others. Accountants show the accounting ‘maps’ to leaders who should be able to read the accounting ‘maps’ then use the accounting ‘maps’ to determine how to reward or punish social behavior.

 Historically, in my view, when leaders become unable to read the indicators on accounting maps in a meaningful and truthful manner, the society they are in charge of suffers loss. This commentator is a smart person, a social leader, doing their best to read the information they are in contact with in a truthful manner. They see storms on the horizon; the solution they offer is to put green backs in a safe deposit box.

I was thinking about that as I prepared the chicken broth. I am old enough to remember the nineteen seventies recession. As a child I remember my parents’ anxiety. I remember a pallet of sugar that the mice ruined over the next two years because we couldn’t eat it fast enough and the large steel gas tank bought to hold gas. It was supposed to save us money; it didn’t; all it did was postpone the need to buy fuel until the price was even higher; over time there weren’t any savings at all. I remember the parents burying a mason jar inside a tin coffee can underground behind the house (what if, today, the mason jar in the tin can held bills that didn’t have security strips?) and by the time they dug it up, due to inflation, it bought less than if they’d left it in the bank.

As for banks, making people request large sums a few days in advance. My bestie is a bank teller; she knows her stuff; she requests the right amount every week to cover the normal transactions of her regular members. Unlike computers (thankfully) banks circulate paper bills. A request for huge sums in paper bills is not a regular request so when a bank member wants huge sums in paper bills her branch won’t automatically have that much in the vault. She must have time (a week) to request and get the physical bills. And that is how it works.

So, as I worked to make home grown chicken broth, I decided for sure that stashing green backs in a safety deposit box isn’t for me. It is, I am sure, the right decision for that commentator and many others, but certainly not for me. In my case I’d rather depend on my community, build a solid reputation for doing a good job and socialize with my church and physical family. I have no control over things beyond my control like leaders unable to read the indicators on accounting maps in a meaningful way. So, I figure I’ll just do the best I can with what I have, pray for my nation, and do my best to keep the Washingtons, Hamiltons and Ben Franklins in circulation.

 Plus, I don’t have enough cash wealth to need a safety deposit box. My wealth is my community, my reputation, my church, and my family. And I’m a wealthy woman!

Chicken Broth

One chicken, home grown when possible.

6 to 8 cups water

Any saved veggie ‘bits’

Some carrots, onion, garlic, celery

One hot pepper, habanero, jalapeno, cayenne (optional)

Clean out chicken carcass to make sure there isn’t any innards inside the bird. If there is liver, set it aside to be fried later (liver in the broth is somewhat strong for me). Then put the bird in the crockpot or a large stock pot with water and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer all day. Take the bird out of the pot. Strain broth into another large pan to separate the veggies from the broth. Debone the chicken and put the meat into the broth. Broth is ready to be frozen or used at this point. Discard the chicken bones. Many cooks discard the veggies also. I feed the veggies to the dogs. (But NOT the cooked bones- cooked bones are brittle and can fragment into a dog’s throat. When I want to give my dogs extra calcium, I continue to cook the bones until they are so soft, they are mush between my fingers.)

            In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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