My Dad collected pennies, and he would carefully put them in those blue cardboard booklets. Do you know the ones I mean? Each book had many penny-shaped holes in rows across the pages and a year printed underneath each hole. I thought they were really cool when I was a kid.
When Daddy got a penny in change he would often hand it to me to check the date for him to see if it was worth saving. “That’s your job,” he’d say with a serious face. It’s one of the ways I learned my numbers, by reading them out loud to him off the pennies.
I liked to help my Dad put the pennies in the booklets, and he was always so patient, letting my small fingers laboriously squish the pennies into their holes. It’s one of the many fond memories I have of spending time with my Dad.
When I turned 16 and got a job of my own, I’d tear open my pay envelope every week to see if I had received any pennies worthy of giving to Dad for his booklets. By that time, most of the spots in the booklets were filled and it was pretty exciting to find one of the ‘missing’ pennies and give it to him.
When my Dad died a few years ago, my older sister Cindy began to find pennies in unlikely places. I mean she was finding pennies where pennies had no right to be. She found pennies in the middle of her kitchen floor after she’d just cleaned. She found them when she’d get out of her car in her driveway. She found them in a drawer. She found them in the middle of the sidewalk to her house which she had just passed by minutes earlier. She was convinced it was our Dad leaving her pennies to help cheer her up and let her know he was okay. It comforted her to find those pennies and for that I was so glad because she took our Dad’s death really, really hard.
Soon after, my oldest sister Linda began to find pennies. Linda laughed her throaty laugh and said in her practical way, “Yep. Dad’s telling us he’s okay.” She would call and tell me when she found one in an unlikely place, always laughing. She was amused by every single penny.
Well, I didn’t find a single penny in an unlikely place. It almost broke my heart, I tell you. My sisters, feeling my sadness, tried to comfort me, but all I wondered was why Daddy hadn’t left any pennies in my path. Well, he had something bigger in mind for his third daughter. . . to be continued. . .