Back when I was a kid, finding a penny was a big deal. With a penny you were well on your way to having enough for a Hershey bar. Not to mention, finding a penny was good luck.
When I was in college, the girl who lived right above me was studying to be an attorney. On the morning she went to take the Bar Exam she found dozens of pennies strewn along the path from her front door to her car door. I’d scattered them the night before and left a note on her windshield, of the old poem:
Find a penny,
pick it up,
and all day,
you’ll have good luck.
After having done this once, it became my standard surprise for friends heading off to an important endeavor. I’d left pennies on the doorsteps of many friends before it occurred to me that I should scatter a handful at my own. And so for the last 30 plus years my front steps have been adorned with pennies.
For 20 of those years I lived on a street that was well traveled by minivans full of kids heading off to school. It became common on Fridays (spelling test and math quiz day) for a car to pull up, a child to hop out, a lucky penny to be pocketed.
This led to realizing that the pennies that were handed to me as change were better tossed onto the sidewalk than put in my pocket. Over the years there have been dozens of times when I’ve heard a child announce with joy, that they’d found a penny, one that I’d just dropped. How easy it was to spread a little joy. How happy their joy made me.
It’s the little things, all righty!
Smile. Be Happy.
IMAGE: Lucky Pennies on the Bridge Smiley: For our wedding day, friends scattered pennies on the Golden Gate Bridge right at mid-span. Dave the groom walked from the S.F. end and I, the bride, walked from the Marin end. We met in the middle (there’s a good metaphor) to say our vows. On our anniversary we walk the bridge again every year. What a happy thing to look over the railing, to the beams below us, and see that pennies that had landed there in 2009 are still there, and by golly they’re forming a smile.