Pennies from Heaven

Searching for the world’s pennies at a Minnesota lake

Whether my parents saw the 1936 film, Pennies From Heaven, is impossible to say. During their courtship, the closest movie theater lay ten miles away, in another town. Though not far by today’s standards, it made catching a new release difficult: especially for a couple living without a car.

After marrying and moving to a larger city, they began taking in a movie from time to time, but those nights were rare. Sixty cents — the cost of two movie tickets and two ice cream cones after the show — could have purchased ten pounds of sugar or a pound-and-a-half of coffee, so even occasional splurges were given some thought.

Still, if they didn’t see the film, they knew and liked the Academy Award nominated song of the same name, written by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. A positive, upbeat tune meant to cheer Depression-weary listeners, it seemed to do just that. Even after the end of WWII, its popularity endured. My mother sang along when it played on the radio; my father sang it to me when he pushed me in my swing, or sought to cheer me on a rainy day.

(Bing Crosby starred in the movie. This version is by Frank Sinatra)
Every time it rains, it rains
Pennies from Heaven.
Don’t you know each cloud contains
Pennies from Heaven?
You’ll find your fortune’s falling
All over the town;
Be sure that your umbrella
Is upside down.
Trade them for a package of
Sunshine and flowers;
If you want the things you love,
You must have showers.
So when you hear it thunder
Don’t run under a tree;
There’ll be pennies from Heaven
For you and me.

Children are impressionable, and the song’s suggestion of upside-down umbrellas filled with pennies impressed me greatly. The day I discovered my own first penny lying on a sidewalk, I ran home, breathless and elated: eager to tell my parents I’d found proof of Heaven’s largesse.

I don’t remember their smiles, but I do remember my father suggesting I should keep my penny in a special place. After a little pleading, he consented to give me one of his wonderful cigar boxes, and my collection began.

Over the months, I discovered that pennies dropping from heaven weren’t as common as I’d hoped. My collection grew: but slowly. Eventually, I had twenty-three pennies — a number I remember because I counted them every day — until the temptation of our neighborhood gas station’s candy counter became irresistible. Root beer barrels (two for a penny) and two long rolls of Necco wafers (five cents each) reduced my fortune to eleven pennies.

When I began acting like a victim of the 1929 stock market crash, my mother pointed out that I had, after all, done it to myself. Then, she suggested I could re-build my penny collection by saving some from my allowance each week. I didn’t mind saving, but I balked at saving ordinary pennies in my special box. She didn’t seem to understand that the point wasn’t only the pennies, it was the way they arrived: unexpected, and free for the taking.

Eventually, I stopped believing that pennies fall from the sky, but I’ve never stopped picking them up. Plucked from parking lots, nudged away from sidewalk cracks, and swept from the occasional floor, each is tucked into a pocket and carried home. The cigar box is gone, replaced by a monogrammed  glass box that graced my parents’ coffee table. As I add each new penny, I wonder: was it lost by carelessness, or was something more involved? If I’d lived in Annie Dillard’s neighborhood, it might have been something more, given the penny-planting ritual she describes in  Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

When I was six or seven years old, growing up in Pittsburgh, I used to take a precious penny of my own and hide it for someone else to find…  I always “hid” the penny along the same stetch of sidewalk up the street. Then, I would take a piece of chalk and, starting at either end of the block, draw huge arrows leading up to the penny from both directions.
After I learned to write,  I labeled the arrows: “Surprise Ahead” or “Money This Way.”  I was greatly excited, during all this arrow drawing, at the thought of the first lucky passer-by who would receive in this way, regardless of merit, a free gift from the universe.

Then, as Dillard will, she goes on:

I’ve been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand.
But — and this is the point — who gets excited by a mere penny?  It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty brought a lifetime of days. It’s that simple. What you see is what you get.

What I saw, on Texas State Highway 16 , was this: a bit of down-home decoration on a bridge support at the Medina River.

Busy admiring the scenery, my traveling companion had missed the Lone Star, so I pulled to the side of the road, and we walked back to the river for a closer look. Beneath the bridge, hidden from drivers headed in either direction, was a familiar image.

Picking our way over the rocks for a closer view, we couldn’t help laughing at the deliciousness of it all. “Someone’s got a sense of humor,” I said. Straightening up, my friend pondered. “Do you suppose someone painted it under the bridge just to surprise people who take the time to stop?” “I don’t know about that,” I said, “but I suspect there might be other things to see around here. Let’s take a look.”

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In the end, the tribute to Van Gogh wasn’t part of a larger exhibition, but there were things to see.  Downriver, a tire swing recalled simpler, easier days.

Along the roadside and in ditches, late wildflowers bloomed, including the white prickly poppy I never imagined I would see so late in the year.

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Occasional stems of skeleton-plant (Lygodesmia texana) bobbed about in the wind.

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While an over-achieving clematis (Clematis drummondii) climbed its way to the heavens,

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broom, dayflower, and gray golden-aster shared space with another favorite: snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). Like snow-on-the-prairie, its name is metaphorical, but it’s lovely nonetheless.

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A vibrant yellow flower lighting up the gray and cloudy day was a mystery even to my friend, who knows her hill country flowers.

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Later that afternoon, during a visit to the Sophienburg Museum in New Braunfels, we were astonished to find Ferdinand Lindheimer, the long-departed father of Texas botany, making the identification for us. In an exhibit devoted to Lindheimer’s work, we found an herbaria sheet containing a sample of the flower collected by Lindheimer, with notes written in his own hand.

Known today as Lindheimer’s Senna (Senna lindheimeriana), the flower is one of many species and sub-species that bear the botanist’s name. One source says there are twenty; another says forty-eight; a third suggests over a hundred. At the museum, it was enough to see this species, and to feel a connection with the man for whom it was named.

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In childhood, pennies from heaven were less common than I’d hoped. Today, they seem more common than I ever imagined.

Where masterpieces appear under bridges, flowers climb trees, poppies bloom out of season, and the ghosts of long-dead botanists smile to see new generations discovering their own sweet pleasures, it seems clear that Annie Dillard was right: the world is strewn with pennies. It would behoove us to keep our umbrellas at hand.

Comments always are welcome.

141 thoughts on “Pennies from Heaven

  1. What a delightful post Linda! I lived every sentence. The trip with your friend must have been wonderful. Thanks for sharing it. So many things to see if we look and most of us don’t look. I too, collect pennies from Heaven. Strange how they seem to turn up at just the right moment too.

    1. I’m glad you liked it, Kayti. It’s always fun to be with my Hill Country friend. We share a lot of interests, and she’s able to get out and about now after years of caring at home for a very sick husband. So, our visits are good in a lot of ways.

      It’s true, isn’t it — that things sometimes “drop into our laps” at just the right time. Some call it coincidence or serendipity. Others call it grace. Whatever we call it, the phenomenon is one of the great delights of life.

      As for seeing, I still am thinking about something that a Texas agriculture specialist said in an article on “Popular Approaches to Quail Management.” (Yes, Google lands me in some weird places.)
      He said, “I harp on the importance of being able to name the plants below one’s feet. If you can’t name them, you never see them.” I’m thinking that applies to most of life.

    1. You certainly do appreciate the simple joys — I was thinking about that when I read your piece about the eighteen miles. If we saw everything there is to see in any eighteen mile stretch of this life, we’d need another lifetime to get it all in.

  2. Hey Linda, you did again. Exquisite literature, inspiring pictures and nostalgic music from my youth. I’ll comment about Frank Sinatra.

    Strangely enough, last week I watched a two-hour-long documentary about the bio of legendary Frank Sinatra, a.k.a. “Ole Blue Eyes”. I learned the name of the town where he was born and lived in New Jersey (Hoboken), his love life, his relationship with the Kennedys, his ties with the Cosa Nostra, and of course his soft-paced music which elevated you to the clouds.

    The name of the Netflix documentary is “Sinatra: All or Nothing at All”. Brought tons of memories from the fifties, sixties and seventies. In Changuinola, the remote banana town where I grew up, we were frquently sprinkled with music from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, Louis Armstrong and others.

    Some of them were often referred to as the “The Rat Pack”. The 1960s version of the group included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, Juliet Prowse, Buddy Greco, and Shirley MacLaine were often referred to as the “Rat Pack Mascots”.

    Thank you Linda for all those memories. What more can I say? You have the power to leave me speechless.

    Oh, before I close. Keep on saving those coppers! One hundred of them still makes a dollar. ;-)

    God Bless,

    Omar.-

    1. I discovered a couple of people on your list I’d forgotten about, Omar: Joey Bishop and Buddy Greco. They were part of quite a crew: no doubt about that. Back in the early days of the space program, there were some remarkable parties at the Holiday Inn across from NASA, and the father of one of my friends ended up at one where Sinatra and a few others were in attendance.

      One thing I learned about the film “Pennies from Heaven” is that Bing Crosby was responsible for Louis Armstrong’s presence in the film. Good for him. I almost added Crosby’s version of the song to this post, but I was surprised to find that it’s not quite the version I remember from childhood. Besides, I like Sinatra’s version better. Actually, I prefer Sinatra to almost any singer of that generation, although Perry Como was fun to sing along with.

      I was astonished to hear someone refer to Sinatra as “elevator music” a while back. Of course she was thirty-something, and thinks Axl Rose is the best ever, so there we are.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It I stick with “found pennies” I’ll never have enough to buy a Starbuck’s, but I’ll keep picking them up anyway.

      Linda

      1. Bing Crosby was very popular during my early days. I will never forget his song, “White Christmas”. A trivia of this song, is that the United States used this song as a code to tell the American people in Vietnam that they were evacuating all Americans and that the Embassy would be closed.

        As soon as the song was broadcasted on the radio, every American or non-American ran for the hills. American presence in Vietnam was over and the rest is history.

        Perry Como, how did I miss that name from my list too?

        Bye,

        Omar.-

  3. What wonderful memories you’ve share! And reading them brought memories of my own of that ‘Pennies From Heaven’ song. My folks used to sing it in our old kitchen and sometimes they would tap dance as they did.

    Beautiful photos too!

    1. Tap-dancing parents! What’s not to like about that? My folks danced, too, quite a lot, but they reserved it for “dances” here and there, or occasionally the patio.

      One of the changes I think I’ve noticed over the past years is that no one sings any more. We used to sing all the time. Of course, we had popular music that was eminently singable. I still can call up the lyrics and melodies of dozens of songs from the ’50s and ’60s, and I still enjoy them. I used to sing Gogi Grant’s “The Wayward Wind,” or “Lady of Spain” when I was swinging. What do kids sing today? I haven’t a clue.

      I’m happy to have brought back some memories for you, too.

  4. Being an astronomy lover, I must say I am quite partial to this painting hidden beneath the bridge. I wonder what motivated the person to do that there.

    I had to look into the google machine for the original. It yielded this awesome array. It was a veritable flood of pennies. http://bit.ly/1XY9poO

    1. Isn’t that painting delightful? It is signed, but I couldn’t make out what appear to be two names. Something that did strike me is that it hasn’t been defaced. I’m happy about that. The next time I’m over there, I’ll check it out and see how it’s holding up.

      Isn’t that collection something? I wonder what Van Gogh would think of the Superman addition? I was glad to see that my favorite is there — the pen and ink sketch on the third row. There’s something about artists’ sketches of their paintings that just appeal to me. Maybe it’s like seeing bones that were later fleshed out.

        1. Getting a tattoo of someone’s name removed twenty years down the road is one thing. Can you imagine deciding you really don’t like Van Gogh any more, and need to remove “Starry Night”?!

          1. That would be a tough one. I wonder if skin grafts would work. I’ve never been tempted to get a tattoo. I can’t imagine what it would be. It would have to be small. Probably related to physics or astronomy. I know! A black hole. No one would see it.

  5. What a charmer this piece is. It costs 1.7 cents to make a penny in 2014. I’ve heard there are those who wish to discontinue them. They say they don’t make sense. Ha! I like them and continue to bend over and pick them up when I see them. Always will. Loved that penny candy.

    1. I see from Tamara’s comment down below that Canada has done away with pennies. Foolish people. The next thing you know, we’ll have little dishes next to cash registers for people to put their extra nickels in, because they don’t have value. It’s a slippery slope, I tell you.

      Penny candy was the best. We rode our bikes the three blocks to the gas station, and spent hours leaning over the case, deciding what to buy. Licorice whips. Walnettos. Wax bottles with some sort of indescribable liquid in them. Candy cigarettes with pink “flames.”
      I suppose today my folks would have been jailed for unsupervised bike riding, bare feet, no helmet, too much sugar, and refusing to adjudicate fights over the last candy necklace. To paraphrase John Denver, thank God I was a ’50’s child.

        1. The very same. Sometimes boys would buy those red wax lips, too. They may have been meant as candy, or at least as a sweet treat, but as I recall, they mostly wore them until people stopped laughing at them, and then threw them away.

  6. It was a nice trip down memory lane at least in the case of cigar boxes and pennies, which are no longer in circulation in Canada. They were fun for pretend money :) I remember burying some pennies (and other earthly treasures) in my backyard, but I never got the chance to dig them up before moving out of the neighbourhood.

    1. Tamara, I’d completely forgotten play money until you mentioned pretend money. When I was in grade school, we had imitation bills, like Monopoly money, and cardboard “coins.” We used them to learn how to count change properly, and even what to do if someone gave us a five dollar bill and a quarter for something that cost $3.25. Apparently that’s not taught any more: like penmanship.

      I think we all must have buried things at one time or another. I haven’t a clue what I was up to, but I do remember being told — in no uncertain terms! — that my mother’s silver teaspoon was not a trowel, and not meant for digging. I hope I didn’t bury something important, because I didn’t remember to go back before we moved, either.

    1. I think you’re right, Terry. And of course small, pretty things come in every shape and form. Some people enjoy teacups, or jewelry. I’m fond of miniature oil lamps, myself.

      But many of the penny-like things that I especially enjoy are natural: seashells, acorns, rocks, dried grasses and seed pods. It’s a fact that many of the best things in life are free — and aren’t we glad for it?

  7. This post was a true delight. I love to read about things that you see on your special jaunts. The flower info is quite interesting and the photos are great. I hope you’ll write more posts such as this one.

    Speaking of pennies, my son throws pennies out in the parking lot for kids to pick up when they are at church. I didn’t know that and one day this summer I picked up about forty pennies thinking that someone had a coin purse that had a hole in it. I never did put those pennies back. I’m sure he has since thrown out more.

    He lives next door to a Riding High Cowboy Church. My husband sold the property to the church about 18 years or so ago.

    1. I love the thought of your son strewing pennies about, Yvonne, but I’m even more taken with the thought of you going around and picking them up. I suspect I would have assumed, as you did, that someone had a frayed coin purse, or pocket, or that they unknowingly dropped a roll of pennies and it broke.

      The Riding High Cowboy Church is interesting. It reminds me of some of the biker churches I’ve come across. What tickles me is that, if you set aside the horses, the hats, and the Harleys, the life of those congregations isn’t much different than any you’d find in suburbia. There are study groups, food pantries, and worship. How the people are dressed doesn’t matter.

      I found some other flowers that were equally lovely, but I haven’t identified them yet. I did think of you yesterday afternoon, when I made a quick trip down to the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge. There were butterflies galore, and I think they were Gulf fritillaries. I handicapped myself by my own neglect. It hadn’t occurred to me what so much rain would do to the salt marsh mosquito population. The next time, I’ll have a good supply of repellant so I can get out of the car and mess around for longer than two minutes.

      1. Ah. gee that is a bummer that you couldn’t get out and get some photos of those butterflies. I bet the place was alive with all manner of things to photograph. Too bad there were so many mosquitoes. You are right about the churches. My son goes to that one sometimes but not on a regular basis. Next time I see the pennies, I’ll leave them on the ground. I had no idea until it was too late and I was already home. I’ll throw out a handful next time. I haven’t been back to his house in several months but he’s at mine one or more times each week.

        1. It’s good your son’s close, and that he’s so attentive. I have a few friends who aren’t so blessed, and it can be a little sad.

          Apart from the butterflies, there were a good number of birds, and the alligators were making an appearance, too. I could hear geese, but never found them. It’s such a large place that they can find sloughs and fields to sit down in, and be perfectly safe. I’m looking forward to going back.

  8. Back when I worked in house (instead of from home), my boss would tape found pennies to the edge of her computer monitor. I used to do that too. Now I just collect found change and make a point of putting it in the Ronald McDonald House donation box at McDonald’s. We have a Ronald McDonald House here, near the hospital that’s associated with the med school.

    I remember candy for pennies. There was a little mom and pop neighborhood store near my elementary school called “The Pink Store.” Alas, I seldom had pennies to spend there and it was out of my way home from school. It had been impressed on me that I must “come straight home.” I always did.

    1. That’s really interesting about your computer monitors, WOL. I’ve never seen pennies kept that way. Other found change just goes in my pocket — especially the nickels, dimes, and quarters that people leave in the change machine at the grocery store — but found pennies go in the box.

      I have a friend who keeps a running total of her found change through the year. She starts in January, and then donates it all to a charity at the end. I can’t remember for sure what her highest total was, but it was substantial. Maybe thirty dollars. You can get there quickly if you find enough quarters.

      There wasn’t any chance for me to wander on my way home from elementary school, because we lived right across the street. On the other hand, I could get home, change clothes, and get some homework done before friends made it home. Especially in the fall, that left time before supper for leaf-scuffling and bike riding. Good times.

  9. Ready for bed, and not having two pennies to rub together tonight, I find your article delightful! I’ll be falling asleep to the song and dreaming of all the metaphorical pennies I already have. For in those I find my wealth these days.

    Thanks for the sweet dreams, Linda!

      1. Perhaps it’s a nervous habit? Maybe done when it is all you have in your pocket? (I actually do rub coins together when they are in my pocket. ;) )

        1. Men of my dad’s generation did tend to jingle together any coins they had in their pockets. Then, these came along, often as advertising gimmicks, and women across the country gave thanks for not having to mend pockets so often. I’m surprised they’re still a big item. They were handy, that’s for sure.

      2. When I was growing up, having two pennies to rub together was a way of talking about at least a level of financial security. I mentioned to Lynda that the expression for not having two pennies to rub together was “penny-poor.” Whether people considered themselves penny-rich if they had two, I can’t say.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lynda — and thank goodness for our metaphorical pennies, of every sort.

      I grew up with that expression about not having two pennies to rub together. Some people called it “penny poor.” When I was a kid, there were people around who truly understood what that meant. It took me some years to grasp the concept, but I finally did.

      When I boarded a boat today, I saw a big, colorful umbrella under the dinghy on the back deck. Did I laugh? Of course!

  10. This is so beautiful, yes you took me too with you to this amazing travel. Ah this song, this voice, almost carried me to my own memories… No, I can’t say I know this film or this song, but the music and Frank Sinatra, reminded me those years… The painted stones are amazing, what a creative idea… and the flowers… and of course your writing, I am in here in a beautiful world with you. Thank you dear Linda, have a wonderful week, I will fly this week to Baku, I don’t know how long I will stay there. Love, nia

    1. It was a wonderful trip, Nia, with so many surprises. We enjoyed it so much, and I’m glad you enjoyed it, too. Music can carry us back to certain times and places, can’t it? Sometimes it’s beautiful music, and sometimes it’s just a silly song, but we remember them all.

      This is a week for sunshine and a little rain, so people are happy. Have a good trip of your own — and be safe.

    1. My dad collected coins as well as stamps, and he had a few examples that were holed. Perhaps he had one of yours. I think it would be great fun to have interesting coins like that. One thing’s for sure. If you’re going to find one, make it the 1940 Half Penny: the one worth $50.

      Your mention of the half-penny (or ha’penny) brought one of my favorite songs to mind in about a half-second. The mention of the ha’penny comes near the end, but the whole song’s worth a listen.
      It even relates to Christmas!

      1. Delightful! I am so glad you posted this because I was sure there must be a song with a ha’penny in it but I couldn’t find one! I wouldn’t be surprised if your father had some holey pennies from Fiji. My sister and I recently discovered my mother’s coin collection. Not organised at all but we were surprised by the extent of it. Mostly NZ coins though.

        1. The song’s from one of their first albums. I think it was 1963 — I bought it when I still was in high school. The lyrics are traditional, but their musical arrangement differed. I’m glad I knew it, and shared!

    1. An interesting article, Steve. I have been reading for some time about the devaluing of the penny, and from time to time there is talk of doing away with them altogether. The article suggests that we should “Spend them now.” However, I would think that if we are hording them, and they become defunct, that we would still get a dollar back if we turned 100 of them in to the bank. Yes?

        1. I learned that lesson when I began dispersing some of my dad’s stamps and coins. Anyone who’s selling such things needs to do their research, and work with a reputable dealer. It’s not enough to just get on the internet and take what a dealer says there as gospel.

          The same is true of books. I’ve recently learned that some of the hardbacks I have are worth considerably more on the market than I paid for them. I wouldn’t have thought so, because some are relatively new. Taking old volumes to Half-Price Books isn’t always the best choice.

          1. Half-Price Books pays very little. If you do take books there to sell, take just a few, because in my experience (which isn’t recent), the store pays the same for a whole box of books as for a few.

            1. I’m not sure how it works, exactly – this is where my local Book Shop sent me to search for out-of-print titles – but you can be your own seller here or just sell a few… You may be surprised, if you check out the prices on http://www.abebooks.com.

    2. I guess I fit their description of the average penny-picker-upper: older, with memories of days when a penny was valuable. I was one generation after the penny-postcard, but I have some from the family. It was the standard means of communication in rural Iowa before telephones, just as trains were the standard mode of travel.

      On the other hand, I don’t remember ever seeing a CoinStar machine. When my spare change jar fills up, I roll the coins and take them to the bank. My father would be pleased that I avoided giving the percentage to the machine.

      1. I’ve seen a few of those machines in Austin, but like you and your father, I wouldn’t want to pay a fee for redeeming coins. I believe even some banks now want to charge a fee to people who trade in large numbers of coins. Stores have to pay their banks to get rolls of coins, so sometimes I’ve taken extra coins with me to stores (not at a busy time) and traded them in to help out.

  11. I always pick up pennies but I never thought to put found pennies in a special jar. people look but they don’t see. the art teacher who taught me how to draw also taught me how to see.

    1. It’s funny, Ellen. I grew up hearing my mother repeat, ad nauseum, “Don’t stare. It’s not polite.” Then, I found Flannery O’Connor, who said, “The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.”

      That’s one reason I enjoy following photographers and other visual artists. They help me to see, and they don’t seem to mind my staring.

    1. It sounds like our dads shared some of the same qualities. I’m convinced part of the reason I love road trips as I do is that Dad and I would go “exploring” on an almost weekly basis. We was the going that counted, not the destination — as you suggest.

  12. Linda, so many points here… Pound and a half of coffee for 60 cents? Wow, you would only get a tiny sip at Starbucks now. :)

    Oh, Pennies from Heaven. Having little ones, I have been enjoying those pennies through their faces, watching my little 4 year old light up when he finds a penny. And he finds them all the time – it must be something about being close to the ground and seeing things. And my joy is in seeing them discover those things. And then the little things, like you and those flowers, the joy of the little boy jumping up and down – mommy, look, we were just talking about airplanes, and here is an airplane – what a good luck!

    Your quotes from Annie Dillard also bring me some memories. My kids do those hiding treasure things. And draw arrows. About a week ago, they made paper arrows all around the house to point to various treasure things.

    I still remember finding the whole Soviet ruble at about age 8 at school, and going to school cafe to get the only desert we had – a deep fried ponchki – a round doughnut.

    The Van Gogh find was incredible. I will have to watch the movie, sounds like a good one. Thank you for sharing this, brought many smiles to my face.

    1. Bee, I thought about that Starbuck’s cup while I was writing this. I’m certain I’ll not find enough pennies in my lifetime to pay for one of their Grande whatevers, but no matter, since I’m not particularly fond of Starbucks, anyway.

      A child’s joy in discovery is marvelous to behold. Of course, yours are given opportunities, the freedom to make use of them, and they’re encouraged to be curious. It makes a difference. We’re starting to see the results of certain kinds of child-rearing in our colleges and universities, and it isn’t a pleasant sight.

      I love that your kids do the arrow-drawing, too. A friend said her grand-daughter does, so it must be more common than I realized. If I were going to draw an arrow toward anything right now, it would be to this ponchiki recipe I found. I certainly don’t need fifty doughnuts, but I must say…. they look wonderful.

      One thing about the movie — it seems there are two with the same name, now. The 1981 version stars Steve Martin, and I’m not sure it’s even the same plot. In any event, look for the 1936 version.

      I’m happy to have brought a smile to you. I think the film will, too.

  13. I never fail to pick up pennies I find lying about, Linda. Keeping one’s eyes open has many benefits — once, I found a twenty dollar bill caught in some ornamental bushes in a parking lot (talk about a FIND!!)

    The trip you and your friend took sounds most interesting. Somebody definitely had a sense of humor — and was a skilled painter! Can’t help wondering if the artist was a hobo or homeless person who spent considerable time beneath that bridge.

    Your nature photos are stunning. So much beauty around us, if we’ll only open our eyes and take it in!

    1. The bridge probably is quite different from what you’re imagining, Debbie. It’s a low water crossing, which means it’s only a few feet — a very few feet — above the river. I have a feeling the painting was done during the drought. Now that rains are moving back into the area, it’s an open question whether it will still be there when I go back. Depending on the paint that was used, a flooding river could scour the artwork right off.

      As a matter of fact, this view of the Medina is not so many feet from the “Van Gogh Bridge.”

      I’ve never found a twenty dollar bill, but I did find a dime, today. I hate to say that I remember when a dime could buy you a cup of coffee.

  14. Linda,

    I had just recently reread Dillard’s essay in which she mentions planting pennies (I think she is coming out with a new book of old essays, and I read an advanced reader copy. And then made a note to read/reread all her stuff one day.)

    I have always picked up pennies and always the refrain runs through my mind: “See a penny and pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.” My brother-in-law saves found money like this and buys lottery tockets with his windfall. It makes me happy to know you pick up pennies, too.

    Rosemary

    1. Now that I think about it, Rosemary, collecting found pennies could fit under Varnish John’s rubric, too: you start where you can start, and do what you can do.

      If you haven’t read Dillard’s book “The Writing Life,” you’d like it. I picked up “An American Childhood,” but I haven’t even opened it yet. Maybe this winter. “Holy the Firm” was my first exposure to her, and it was even more striking in some ways than “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”

      I’ve known that some consider finding a penny good luck, but I never had heard that verse — thanks for that! I’d never considered using found money for lottery tickets. I always felt like finding the coin was winning the lottery!

      Linda

  15. ha. That gave me a smile too. I recalled when I asked my college son to look at the artwork I’d just finished in someone’s bathroom. there were ferns and palm trees and ginger, heliconias.. but beneath the counter was a hidden zebra in the grass that you’d only see from a special seat in the room. Five minutes later my son emerged and stated,’how’d you paint that zebra down there?’ and said, ‘how did you see that?’ and he said, ‘I know you.’

    I’d love to meet the mystery artist that certainly has a sense of humor! (love the tire swing too!)

    am in town for a fast internet session and back to the property before dark. logging off!

    z

  16. What a beautiful read! I was swept away here, pennies from heaven! I still pick them up and always make a wish for luck. I just loved that cigar box and how you succumbed and spent your fortune! Being involved with a rescue sure shows how pennies mount up…..and there’s that old saying, Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves!
    Yes….pennies are everywhere in this post….loved, LOVED that Van Gogh….a mystery in it’s own right! The plants are heavenly too, especially that white prickly poppy.xxx

    1. You’re the second person to mention wishing on pennies, Dina. I like that. But what I really like is your other saying: “look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.” I was trying to think which of our sayings might go along with that. “Penny wise, pound foolish” is the other side of that proverbial coin, I suppose.

      Part of what makes the painting so deightful is that the bridge it was painted on is well and truly out in the country. I pondered sending a photo to the Kerrville Times, the nearest newspaper, but then I decided not to. They’d publish it, and then someone would get the bright idea to go see it, and the next thing you know, it would have graffiti scrawled on it. So, we’ll just keep it amongst ourselves.

      I’m so glad you liked the poppy. It’s one of my favorites, and I went for a few years after being introduced to it online before I saw one in real life. This patch made me as happy as the painting.

      And by the way — just for you — my own special pige!

  17. Yet another glorious post, sneaking up on us, in a way, following the trail from those pennies to hidden artwork, and then on to the hidden glories of the natural world. I see that Steve is all over this post, and no wonder–are you taking a leaf (so to speak) from him, or is he taking a leaf from you? Suspect it’s a bit of both!

    1. Now you’ve done it, with your talk of sneaking!

      Q: How do you catch a unique rabbit?
      A: You nique up on it.

      It’s an old one, but I still laugh every time I hear it.

      It’s true there are some elements to this post that wouldn’t have been here a few years ago. Photography and the natural world complement each other so well, and I’m glad to be learning about both: not only from Steve, but from others. The trick will be finding ways to incorporate these new interests into the sort of posts I already enjoy writing. It won’t always be possible, or even desirable, but I thought this one worked well.

      Best of all are the assorted memories that have been shared — from different generations, and from around the world. It’s amazing, really.

  18. There are some (Jews) who may hesitate to pick up a penny. In Paris, anti-Semites would throw a penny at a Jew and if he picked it up, the taunting would begin.

    The best part of this post for me was your deliberate look under the bridge only to be rewarded for looking down with a Van Goghish piece of charming art.

    Most of us rarely look down or up.

    1. I’ve never heard of the penny-throwing, Cheri. At first, I didn’t understand the meaning, but then I remembered some of the stereotypes. Apparently it’s not just Paris, either. I read some accounts from New York, Jersey, London. One of the most interesting discussions I bumped into was this one. Such message boards often provide a glimpse into an otherwise hidden world.

      Believe me, I was surprised to find that painting. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the painter had this in mind:

      “French stars at night are just as bright,
      deep in the heart of Texas;
      That swirling sky is wide and high
      Deep in the heart of texas…”

      Why not?

      1. Agreed. I’m looking for a 1914D penny to complete my grandmother’s coin collection. :) If someone were to throw a penny down, I’d have to hustle to beat my Labrador to it. She is undeterred by texture, substance, or spice.

  19. Yes, we ought to keep our umbrellas at hand, and our chalk, too, the very thing you do here. What delicious photographs. Many thanks for this reminder to look, and to look down in particular. I have a colleague who walks an hour or so a day, and joyfully reports of found pennies, nickels, dimes etc. In Canada, pennies are being phased out, but they remain legal tender, and quite possibly “proof of Heaven’s largesse.”

    1. I’d not thought of the chalk, but of course you’re right. I’ve done a bit of my own arrow-drawing, haven’t I?

      Your mention of your colleague reminds me of your own walking, and how that contributes to seeing. So often we ask ourselves at night, “What did I do today?” How much more interesting, and satisfying, it might be to ask, “What did I see today?” That might make quite a Lenten discipline, now that I think of it: to be attentive in seeing, and in sharing what we see.

  20. What a breath of fresh air. I just commented on a post at Facebook(by a long lost cousin) about the sadness many feel for the human race’s constant plunges into inhumanity and degradation of both the planet and our species. But your post speaks of just the opposite. All the magical little spots in our travels that, if only we take the time to look, brighten our day. And I still stoop for pennies and save them in a jar until it is full.

    1. Steve, the world is filled with naysayers, hucksters, charlatans, master manipulators and power-hungry autocrats. All of them are, to one degree or another, what I like to call the “Profits of Doom”: a little play on words that points toward the gains to be made, financially and otherwise, by keeping us stirred up and fearful

      I’m not having it. While I don’t doubt for a minute that we face very real threats in this life, I refuse to live in fear, or to obsess over imaginary troubles that the mass media and social media tell us we ignore at our peril.

      Sometimes I laugh at the irony of it all. I stayed on the edges of the ’60s hoopla, but in my latter years I’m becoming more counter-cultural with every passing day. With twenty years left, give or take, I’ll deal with the unpleasantness as necessary. Otherwise, I’ll be out scouting for pennies.

      Frank Sinatra never sang this one, that I know of, but it’s not a bad song for a penny collector, either.

      1. Just to be clear, Linda…I am not walking around hanging my head at the imminent doom of our kind. While I do believe that there are serious concerns for both our species along with the rest of the planet, time will tell and that is no reason to be constantly miserable, which was what I was responding to in my cousin’s post. However, I do also believe that, as stewards of our only home, we seem to be rather careless as a race.
        It is unfortunate that so many hang on every utterance of the media and politicians. This is creating a great divide among people that shows no foreseeable reconciliation. Too much hatred and distrust.
        Yes, I doubt that Old Blue Eyes sang that and, had he, I doubt it would have been with Pete’s sensibilities.

        1. Oh, I know you’re far from a doom-and-gloomer! But I also know that, like most of us, you’re concerned about issues that are complex at best, and that often seem intractable. What I was thinking of, more than anything, is the importance of choosing our response to the world: not allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the very people who claim to have our best interests at heart.

          I did get a little emphatic about that fear business, didn’t I? Suffice it to say I had my first experience of being followed by someone last week, and my first experience of having to call 911. I really hadn’t expected to be dealing with the Mean Streets of Suburbia, and I think that statement about refusing to live in fear was as much for me as for you.

          1. That’s a terrible experience. It is unfortunate that women (mostly) have to worry about such things. It is hard to tell yourself not to let the fear rule you when something like that happens, I am sure. I hope that there is never another repeat of that!

    2. We live in freedom (and bliss, really) here in the United States. Our days are bright no matter what happens here because we have the freedom to choose so many aspects of our lives–to save pennies or not to save, to load photos on our computers or not to load, to cut back on carbs or not to cut back…we really can’t comment on the sadness and despair that others, who don’t share these precious freedoms, will never know.

      1. And yet the great irony is that many around the world are able to experience a kind of freedom and dignity unrelated to the “freedoms” so often promoted here — even in the worst of circumstances. Too often, we confuse freedom with comfort: disconnected from the need for decision and responsibility.

        Have you seen the film, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”? It tells the story of the Liberian women who forced a peace in that country’s civil war. I think of them often, as I think of Cuba’s Women in White, and the Disappeared of Mexico, Central America, and even Canada. Required to make a forced choice between, say, Lena Dunham and any anonymous Liberian woman who sat in the sun to confront a murderous dictator, there’s no question who I’d choose.

        Whether I could follow in the Liberian woman’s footsteps is a different question.

        1. Agree with your point in the first paragraph. We had a foster sister from the Tondo District in Manilla. She was one of 7 sisters who lived on dirt floors with no outside plumbing with their mother who worked seven days a week as a tailor. And yet, Elvira represented their lives as happy.

          I was responding to the notion that we can harvest joy from upbeat blog posts like this one in contrast to the dismal news of the day.

          I have not seen “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” but it does, indeed, sound powerful–the tale of a Rosa Parks or of The White Rose of Munich.

          Are you familiar with the White Rose?

            1. I know this remarkable story very well. I hope your readers follow the link you provided on your blog. If more people had the courage that those young people exhibited ( for which the Nazis executed them ), the world wouldn’t be so squishy.

      2. I agree that we cannot share the realities of those with whom we have no contact or shared experiences. However, I don’t think we can go through our lives without offering some level of support…either on our own or through the encouragement to our elected officials that these things matter.

        I no longer remember the name of the movie, but many years ago I saw a war film about a soldier who somehow got stuck on an undeveloped island in the Pacific during the second war. He decided to marshal up the natives as a fighting force and at one point in his retelling as the narrator, ridiculed them for not having proper footwear. Different realities. In their land our shodden feet are not necessarily an advantage.

        Our freedoms may seem important to our happiness, but not necessarily that of others as our insistence on other countries partaking in democracy is proving out. We are indeed very fortunate to live here in the U.S. with our freedoms and comforts of life. Those don’t always translate well to other cultures that do not have the history of developing such privileges.
        Sometimes barefoot and having a simpler life is a better way, other times not.

        1. Your tale of the soldier who ridiculed his men for not having shoes made me smile, Steve. There are so many examples of situations where “the civilized way” doesn’t work out so well. I’ll never forget the well-intentioned people who donated a microwave to our hospital in Liberia. I’m not even certain our diesel generator could have powered the thing, but even if it was a possibility, we wouldn’t have done so. It got used as a filing cabinet, instead.

          Your observations about the ambiguities inherent in trying to impose our form of governance upon other societies are on target, too. Again, I think of Africa, and the way geopolitical divisions were superimposed across tribal boundaries. The primary allegiance remained to the tribe, not to the nation. It’s still an issue in West Africa, and in many other parts ot the world, as well.

          I feel lucky to have a Representative in Congress who is responsive. I don’t always agree with his votes, but he never fails to respond to emails, and often does so personally. He holds town hall meetings regularly around the district, and it’s interesting to hear what people have on their minds. I think it’s as good for all of us as it is for him to hear the opinions of people we otherwise might not ever talk to.

          1. I’d like to think that all representatives listen to their constituents and act accordingly as their title implies. It is a sad fact of life though that money and power gets in the way of that. Going in they all have good intentions but the system changes many.

          1. Some do and for good reason but not everyone. I am not arguing about whether we live in a wonderful country. We do. But others are entitled to decide the course of their lives as well.

            1. Of course your last sentence is correct. History tells us of the masses who will make their own decisions to follow a leader. But recent history ( the last 400 years in particular) points to the human desire for the freedom to choose a life based on some specific choice– be it religious, economic, or photographic– and that reason is the answer to my posed question.

              I’ve appreciated the dialogue here with you. When everyone agrees, such head-nodding can turn a mind into peanut butter!

            2. Re: the issue of disagreements, I still remember how vehemently my extended family — aunts, uncles, grandparent, parents — could disagree at the holiday table: especially on politics. But we still passed the turkey and gravy around, and said “please” and “thank you” to one another. And no one ever was denied pie for an unpopular opinion!

            3. I’ve never understood that supposed stereotypical family dynamic. Guess I was just lucky…both my family and Mary Beth’s always got along well. Of course, we all held pretty much the same political beliefs which helped.

            4. Oh, we got along perfectly well, and always enjoyed being together. In fact, everyone looked forward to holidays, and always stayed as long as they could. The fact that people didn’t agree on everything, and were willing to say so, was no big deal. I know now there were some family secrets, but there never was a family rift (at least, to my knowledge).

  21. Beautiful and evocative as ever, Linda. I’ll be humming that tune all day! I, too, feel irresistably uplifted by finding a coin in an unexpected location. If I’m in need of the ‘lift’, I put it in my pocket to thumb it throughout the day; otherwise I give thanks and leave it where it lies for someone who needs a lift more than I. Either way, I become more grateful throughout the rest of the day.

    1. Clearly, my inner five-year-old is alive and well. I’ve never left a penny just lying there on the ground. If I see it, I pick it up, certain beyond all reason that it was meant just for me.

      But isn’t it true that those unexpected findings are spirit-lifting? Clearly, it’s not the intrinsic value of the coin. Perhaps it’s only the little nudge, the reminder that sometimes a gift is just a gift, with no strings attached.

      It’s one of the best reasons to cultivate generosity ourselves: for the delight of the ones around us who might need a lift, a sense that the universe isn’t always hostile.

      1. Truly those gifts are the best, as you say, because no strings!

        Your inner child has inspired me to grab pennies from my coin jar and ‘sprinkle’ them around town on errands and trail walks. Tomorrow when the sun shines again; not today in the gray snow. I’m not THAT free-spirited.

        1. I was going to say, “Snow? Already? But it is mid-November, even if it’s still hot and humid here. If we’re lucky, the tail end of the your system will breeze through here tonight, and things will improve. We’ve had warm Thanksgivings, but I’m ready for a cool one.

  22. I love everything about this post! I confess that I’m so slack that I’ve passed by a DIME on the street (it looked grubby). Very sad, I know.

    I LOVE the hidden painting! What a gem! And of course, all the flowers… We’re nursing our last remaining ones (our 9 year old pet geranium, Ms. Pinky, and a Black-Eyed Susan that I planted as a seed this year) along – putting them in the garage overnight – but I think they’re going to have to come inside for the winter very soon.

    1. Dana, you’ve just brought to mind an old phrase:”filthy lucre.” I didn’t know that it’s Biblical, from the first chapter of the Book of Titus. The original definition was money obtained dishonestly, which I suppose explains the negative connotations of the phrase, “filthy rich.”

      But pick up that dime, girl! You always can wash your hands!

      The best I’ve ever done with a geranium is three years. Of course, we have to reverse your practice. Ours come into the air conditioning in the summer. They just can’t take the ninety degree heat. I hope we’ll have a photo of Ms. Pinky, once she’s in her new digs.

  23. Oh, Linda! I love that you SEE things. You are aware, alive, present. You look! Yes, I still pick up pennies. And leave them. Each spring when I decorate the graves of my parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents, Rick and I leave pennies on each of the headstones (except for Uncle Marty — he gets a dime). Sometimes they are gone when I return periodically through the summer or the next spring and sometimes they aren’t. When they disappear I hope someone just happened to pick them up — not a forager but someone passing along who saw these pennies FOR heaven.

    The art, the flowers you saw — all beautiful. But best of all are your pennies. So serious you were! Thank goodness!

    1. Jeanie, do you remember Arti’s post about people leaving pennies on Robert Frost’s grave? I was curious about that, since I’d never heard of the custom. And now here you are, doing the same thing. Is this common? Did your parents do it? Have you always done it? I found several online articles about the Jewish custom of leaving small stones on graves — also new to me. I like both the pennies and the stones. Neither fades as quickly as flowers.

      Isn’t it funny how much of our childhood fades away, and how many memories assume greater importance as the years pass? You’re lucky to have so many photos, but I’m glad to have a few vivid memories. As a friend who is recording her memories says, we need to write some of them down for the days when our memories aren’t working so well.

  24. Linda, you have a fantastic ability to take little incidental stories and turn them into great themes to live by and information long forgotten or never known. Then you wrap around with a profound thought from your story. It is like eating a delicious fried pie! The yum yum beginning, the delicious “I didn’t know that” filling, then the yum yum ending. It is so true that we miss the pennies strewn along while we look for gold seldom found.

    1. There’s a farm about 20 miles away where I sometimes buy local produce. One thing they always have available is a selection of fried pies (kept warm!) and I always have one (just one!) To have a post compared to a good, homemade fried pie is wonderful.

      Your comment about missing the pennies while we look for gold is so apt. We had a glorious rainbow not long ago, and it occasioned the beginning of a poem: perhaps an etheree, perhaps not. I’ll have to wait to see what it turns into. But the beginning is set: “The rainbow is itself the gold…” There’s no need to search for that impossible-to-find pot.

  25. Yes, I agree very much with what oneta says in the previous comment: ‘…you have a fantastic ability to take little incidental stories and turn them into great themes to live by…’

    It is so, so true that pennies from heaven are everywhere if we care to have our antennae tuned to that frequency. I find that one of the gifts of growing older is that of becoming more adept at living in the moment, and in enjoying small, uncomplicated pleasures. So – most of my days I find a penny in some odd nook…

    1. What I really love is that so many comments here refer to intentionally-left pennies as well as to the accidentally dropped or forgotten. Seeing things from your perspective, I can well imagine the universe itself as kindly disposed toward us: dropping metaphorical pennies on our path just for the pleasure of it.

      In any event, pennies abound, and I agree that a new sensitivity to simpler joys is one of the finest aspects of aging. The most delightful old people I know maintain a certain childlike pleasure in life. “First Grade, Forever!” wouldn’t be the worst mantra in the world.

    1. I feel the same. I think the luck doesn’t lie in the penny itself, but in the discovery — we just found something that everyone else has walked past. Maybe it was meant just for us!

  26. What an interesting post, different outlooks of pennies in lakes, or on floors, most people probably ignore, yet sometime ago picking these up was still valued. These days, some parents may even discourage kids from doing so, unless perhaps, it was a dime or a quarter. How times have changed! A penny is taught to be a worthless thing. The whole concept of saving is discouraged from the beginning, while children are young enough to learn. Instead they are taught to pick up the quarters, or paper bills. What a pity!

    I really enjoyed your flowers, specially “snow-on-the-mountain” (Euphorbia marginata). I also have two posts of the “Senna” genus in my blog but they are not from Texas. The clematis (Clematis drummondii) is also spectacular against that blue sky.

    1. It’s interesting that you mention learning to save. That same daddy who was helping me search for treasure in the lake was the one who went with me to the bank every Saturday, so that I could add to my savings and Christmas accounts.

      In those days, we had passbooks for our accounts. Deposits were entered by hand by the teller, and then stamped with the date. It was a very important ritual. The Christmas account was especially interesting. Each week, I deposited some little amount — maybe even just twenty-five cents — but when the time for Christmas shopping rolled around, I had money to spend. It’s quite a different mindset from the ad I heard on radio this week, telling people they could get a $5,000 “Christmas loan” to help make the holidays happy.

      I’m glad you liked the flowers. Here’s a view of the euphorbia colony the close-up came from. In the bottom right, you can see the stems just starting to turn red. I thought the tree-climbing clematis was especially interesting. I saw great heaps of it here and there, and plenty on fences, but I’ve never seen a sight like that one.

      1. The Euphorbia colony link is very nice. Thanks for sharing. Regarding the way money loans are advertised as a way to reach “happiness” is amazing. I suppose this is how pennies got their reputation for being worthless, yet throwing a coin in a fountain is a skillful and symbolic act children still love. These pennies that were tossed in the air, either purposely or not, have a way of finding us again somewhere with our field of vision or sense of touch, to perhaps make a different statement each time.

        1. Your mention of throwing a coin in a fountain suddenly brought back the memory of coin tosses at carnivals when I was a child. I suppose my mother didn’t like them, because my dad and I always went, and we always tried our luck at those tosses. It was simplicity itself — you tossed coins toward an array of saucer-like dishes, and won a prize if a coin went into a dish. It was fun, and sure to earn more for the game owner than for the coin-tossers, but it was a wonderful way to use pennies.

          In Texas, we have a saying: “What goes around, comes around.” That’s the way it is with so much in life, and it makes perfect sense to me that it should work that way with pennies.

    1. Isn’t that the truth? I was thinking about that again yesterday.

      On the other hand, I was in a wildlife refuge while I was pondering it all, and I was surprised by how much more I can spot from the car these days, now that I’m becoming more familiar with the plants, and more attentive generally. It seems that the benefits offered by walking can translate to other ways of getting through this world.

      Of course, we have to be willing to stop the car and get out now and then.

  27. What a lovely song and memory. I’d never thought or heard of pennies being from heaven, but it does make me wonder if that’s where “lucky” pennies come from, and if the heads up/heads down addition is also in some way related.

    That skeleton plant is gorgeous. The painting on the bridge definitely was a little flag of delight! :)

    1. Isn’t it fun, how these customs and superstitions evolve? It’s certainly been an education for me to begin reading your blog — I’m happy to share our little not very exotic customs, too. Another song, from the same era, has much the same feel. Perhaps you know “Catch A Falling Star.” In 1957, I was eleven years old, and I thought Perry Como was dreamy.

      I’d never seen the skeleton plant. It took me a while to figure it out, but I’m so glad to have seen it. I’m anxious to get back to the area, and see how the painting is faring. If it does get scrubbed away by flooding or rain, at least I have a photo of it.

    1. And may your pennies increase! I thought about this post today when the goldfinches suddenly showed up: hundreds of them, fluttering in the trees and chattering for all they were worth. They’re a sure sign of the weather changing at last: a flock of flying pennies.

  28. Although I’ve grown used to your writing style by now, you always manage to “get me” not just with your excellent word-craft, but also with the way you blend the literal with the metaphorical.

    And, yes, we need to appreciate the simple things in life more: a good conversation between friends over cold drinks on a hot day; taking in a sunset when the sun is halfway into the sea; marveling at the curious, innocent nature of a child as he explores his immediate surroundings – all simple but priceless pleasures!

    By the way, thanks for that Frank Sinatra song. I thought I’d heard all of them, but I wasn’t familiar with “Pennies from Heaven”. Pure, sweet nostalgia.

    1. “Pennies from Heaven” is one of my favorites. That was a purer, sweeter era in many ways. Of course the 50s weren’t perfect, and I don’t believe I’d like to go back. But there’s no reason that some of the delights of any era can’t be carried along with us as we travel into the future. We could use a little more sweetness and light in this world.

      It was such an interesting experience to go for the past five days with no radio, television, or internet. There was a point where I did become a little twitchy, partly because of the blanket of gray, damp weather than continued day after day. But, by the time I got home, and turned on this magic box, I found myself just a bit reluctant. Recommiting to balance is the trick. More sunsets, fewer twitter feeds, that’s what I say.

  29. Here in Norway it wasn’t difficult to stop believing in pennies (or ører as they are called here) dropping from heaven or the sky. They were discontinued long ago – and it would be futile to think you would find one on your way.

    1. Well then, you’ll just have to start looking for one-Krone coins. I’d be tickled to death to find one of those. They’re as interesting and more attractive than our penny. On the other hand, since pennies are what I’m most likely to find (apart from the occasional nickel or dime), I’ll keep on looking.

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