Penny Wise

11/11/2010

Brass or copper, worth every penny

Urgency Day 281

500 Things Item 217: Brass or Copper Kettle

  • History: Purchased by Paul’s parents in England after the war
  • Value: Under investigation
  • Parting Pain: A twinge
  • Un-possessing: Gift to family

When you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up?

See a penny, pick it up,

All the day you have good luck.

Back in Virginia where I’m from, we thought the good luck was finding money, even a penny. As my grandmother would say, “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” It wasn’t until I moved to the Land of Lincoln, that I was told another part of the penny rhyme:

But if you give your luck away,

It comes ten-fold another day.

Today, a neighbor credited her daughter and me with having good luck come back to her two-thousand-fold after leaving a penny on the ground.

My friend told me I had inspired her to start walking when possible to our local grocery store instead of driving— an option I really enjoy. She and her husband miss their days of living in Paris where walking is far more de rigueur. One recent and very blustery day, she was walking to the store to pick up a tasty baguette for dinner when she spotted a penny on the sidewalk. Reaching for it, she remembered her daughter telling her that by flipping it over and leaving it for someone else, she would get even more luck later.

So she didn’t pick it up; she flipped it over. She did pick up the pace as it was an extremely blustery day. Several blocks later, as she turned a corner near the store, she happened to spy not a penny, but a twenty dollar bill! The bill was being furiously buffeted by the wind, and she just managed to stomp on it and capture it. Now the hard part: What do you do? What would you do? Seeing no likely owner nearby, and figuring she could parse the ethics under less distracting conditions, she pocketed the twenty and finished her errand.

No. She did not use the money to pay for her baguette. For my friend, the solution was quite simple. She gave the money to one of the caretaker’s of her autistic son, a young woman who is a student at a local college. Think back to your college days: the sudden appearance of twenty dollars was a huge windfall! I tell Sam all the time:

In college, having a full tank of gas and twenty bucks in your pocket is unrivaled freedom.

Actually, I still feel that way.

Now, here are my dots:

  • My habit of walking to the store
  • Inspired my friend to walk to the store;
  • On her walk, she leaves a lucky penny for the next person–
  • And moments later finds $20,
  • Which she gives to a very deserving person.

Maybe the second part of the penny rhyme never caught on in Virginia, because that’s the land of Jefferson (nickels) and Washington (quarters). Few people would pass up a nickel or a shiny quarter for a promise of future good luck. But luck, as I am finding now, does ebb and flow.

Luck is very process not product.


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One Response to “Penny Wise”

  1. melanie Says:

    Lovely, sweet, touching, funny, true.


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