Penny on the path: harbinger of wealth to come

Penny: n. a coin used in several English-speaking countries – in the United States it is valued at 1/100th of a dollar.

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.”
-Chinese proverb

On my walk this morning I found a penny on the sidewalk.

It is a tradition in my family to give the coin to whoever you’re with, and tell them, “Keep this as a harbinger of wealth to come.”  Many many pennies have passed through my hands in this way, and it always pleases me to turn it over to the person I’m with – like an unexpected blessing.

Today it was just me and my poodle.  Although Molly is an omnivore and has been known to eat napkins, plastic bags, and unspeakable dead things, she’s not into coins. So I kept it and added it to my jar of coins found solo.

Interestingly, 95% of my found coins are pennies. The dropper evidently figures it’s not worth stooping to pick up something so lowly – or maybe other passers-by only stoop for nickels, dimes and quarters, and leave the pennies for me.

(Twice over the years my walking partner and I  stumbled on a ten dollar bill. Both times we took it as a sign we should toss whatever plan we had for the morning out the window and go out for lunch.)

When I was young, my mom used to pay us kids for digging dandelions from the lawn at a penny apiece.  And back then a penny actually bought something – candy, a gumball or a card with your fortune on it.  Now that it’s worth so little (less than the metal it’s made of?) the US Treasury Dept thinks from time to time about abolishing it entirely, but we’re not yet ready to see it go.

I know I still look at the found penny as a harbinger of blessings to come.

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