When I find a penny I always think of my dear old dad. Dad took great pride in running a penny drive at the care home where he lived. It made him feel useful, gave him something to talk about and a reason to get up everyday. You could ask him at any time and he’d tell you exactly how many pennies he’d collected, right down to the penny.
Dad also enjoyed the social aspect of collecting pennies as it meant meeting and talking with people. He always carried an empty peanut can with a slit cut into the plastic top. It would sit on his walker as he maneuvered around the care home greeting unsuspecting visitors. He’d always have a story to share and wore his irresistible smile as part of a plan to convince visitors to hand over their pennies. He was quite the charmer.
A penny saved, is a penny earned.
After saving, counting and rolling pennies for several weeks, dad would meet with the resident council to decide how best to spend these coppers he’d turned into cold hard cash. On one occasion they used the pennies to buy a budgie for the residents of the care home. While dad was actively engaged in his penny driving, he’d often point out the budgie to potential penny gifters. He’d say, “See that beautiful budgie over there? Notice how that budgie makes everyone smile around here? Perhaps you have some pennies to spare for a good cause?” His green eyes danced as he’d walk away with his penny can a little more full.
A penny for your thoughts.
Dad would collect, count and roll all the pennies by hand. I’d often help him and while we sorted, he would tell me stories of his boyhood and the love of his life, my mother. It was a special time for me and I know it meant a lot to him as well. While counting he’d often stop to examine a penny then hand it to me and ask, “What’s the date on that one?” He especially enjoyed discovering extra special ones, like the time he found the 1867-1992 penny (made in 1992) to commemorate Canada’s 125th birthday. With a mischievous grin he put the penny aside and said, “Always watch for pennies from heaven!” I knew what he was thinking, without a doubt. After dad passed away in June of 2004 I’d find pennies everywhere. To this day I can’t help but believe they were carefully placed pennies from heaven.
See a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck!
Two years ago, when I learned pennies were no longer being made I reasoned that I’d likely see less of them in my path. Recently, my husband and I were out walking our usual route when something caught his eye. He reached down and scooped up two pennies. Handing one to me he said, “One for me and one for you.” Curious, I carefully examined my penny.
It was an 1867 – 1992 commemorative penny
Not a doubt in my mind.
Thanks Dad and by the way,
Happy Father’s Day!