I’m just an old five-and-dimer




TOP OF THE TOWN – As I get near the end of life, I think of the friends that passed way too early, and who I still miss. Adolph, my best friend, Ray, Gordon, Dale, Lynn, Dick, Amos, Diane, Joan, Pete, Joe, Jerry. Of course, my mother who died when I was 12 and she was 48. Her death set in motion a new path I fought against that sent me reeling into my dark years for 15 years. Three older brothers had set me up for academic and athletic success at my old school and it all disappear when I went into darkness and walked alone, surviving by the Grace of God. I was just listening to Waylon Jennings on American Routes sing “Old Five and Dimers (like me)” written by Billy Shaver that fits me perfectly.


I’ve spent a lifetime making up my mind to be
More than the measure of what I thought others could see
Good luck and fast bucks are too few and too far between
There’s cattle-like buyers and old five and dimers like me.

She stood beside me letting me know she would be
Something to lean on when everything ran out on me
Fenced yards ain’t hole cards and like as not never will be
Reasons for rhymers and old five and dimers like me.

It’s taking me so long, now that I know I believe
All that I do or say is all I ever will be
Too much ain’t enough for old five and dimers like me
Too far, too high, and too deep ain’t too much to be.”


I never asked for much when I was a young kid. The outdoors, Allegheny River and the foothills of the Alleghenies were my home away from home and I didn’t want for much else.

We were not poor. We were middle class. We had enough of that we needed. My needs beside the river and hills were a football, basketball and baseball with a glove. I had all of that and I was playing whatever sport the season called for.

I was a young five-and-dimer and that was enough for me. This was during a time when five cents could buy five pieces of candy, and that was plenty enough.

When I played baseball in fields around me and we didn’t have enough outfielders, I enlisted my dog Peanuts. She was a great outfielder and was paid by this five-and – dimer with candy I could purchase.

In school I had a reputation as a good guy who did well academically and as Jacks player. Three of us — Joan and Martha Jean – would clear out the desks in the back of our classroom and during lunch would get on our knees and play competitive Jacks. Joan and Martha Jean were my equal in classroom and Jacks.

For this five-and-dimer, these were the good times. I miss them just as I miss my friends who left too soon. Nothing was better than buying a Lincoln Hot (dog) and an Orange Crush with a rare 50 cents my mother would give me to go swimming at the outdoor pool in Olean, NY (a quarter to swim and a quarter for a Lincoln Hot and Orange Crush).  I felt like a rich five-and-dimer when that happened.

To go from a rich five-and-dimer to a lonely soul walking the railroad tracks 3,000 miles away took its toll on me.

I managed to do it, somehow, and here I am with one foot out of the exit. This young five-and-dimer is now an old five-and-dimer.

May the trails you trek be happy ones. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.