PENNIES, HEAVEN-SENT

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I don’t remember when the first pennies started appearing after dad’s passing. I do, however, remember pulling up to the local drugstore in town, a day or two after, and my daughter, Tracey, telling me that Somewhere Over the Rainbow was playing — her favorite song — and we took it to be a sign from dad that everything was ok! That was where he was, and it was all good. So I, for one, made a mental note that Somewhere Over the Rainbow would be dad’s song to us.

But it wasn’t soon after that, that the pennies started appearing. Now, I completely understand: pennies are like that; they do just seem to appear. And they appear randomly at most times in everyone’s life. They can be found commonly dropped in parking lots, streets, homes, sidewalks. They can and are dropped by people everywhere, in every avenue of life, and in every place that is traveled by any human who just happens to drop a penny.

So, I don’t remember when the pennies started to become personal to us. Or which one of us was the first to ask the question, somewhere along the lines of: “are you finding pennies lately? I mean, are pennies showing up everywhere?” Or comments about finding so many pennies in so many different places — one after another, enough to get our attention. But, as a family, we definitely started noticing when pennies started showing up in the most unusual, most unlikely places, and at the most important times. This caught our attention and started us wondering …. what is this?

Tracey: I’ve looked down on the floor of my room and a penny will just be there. I have saved them over the years and really should label when and where I’ve found each one. I just know that they appear when I’ve needed help the most. Sometimes over the years we’ve found them on the floor when we went to the Vermont house. I also remember finding a penny on the floor of my dorm room when I first moved in. They are usually found in areas in the center of a room, where it would have been really easily noticed. However, often it seems as though pennies will suddenly appear in the center of a room and were not there before. I remember finding pennies during transitional moments in my life, as well as during times when I needed encouragement — in the dark times and times of uncertainty.

Terrie: I was going to take an important clerical test, and I was really nervous. When I got into my car to go, there were 2 pennies on the seat. The first time I remember taking notice of pennies, was on the walkway coming into my house.

Kim: I don’t remember the first one, but I remember the most unusual was at the foot of my podium when I was teaching a class.

Colleen: The strangest one was on top of my car after my interview for my internship.

Pennies have appeared, for each of us, in many unusual places — in the shower, balanced on top of a picture frame, sitting on the curb as my daughter stepped up to enter her graduation hall and, most recently — two pulled from my husband’s shirt pocket on the morning of his surgery — nothing else in that pocket — just two pennies. They come in all forms too: shiny and new, old and flattened, sometimes green with oxidation or bright and polished. As crazy as it may seem, we like to think of these pennies as being a form of dad’s “talking” to us; a form of his being “with” us. But, in any way they appear, we like to think that dad is there … in spirit … with us, still supporting us, still encouraging us. He’s still our biggest cheerleader and the loudest, too. And from over the rainbow, he sends us his love. How about you? Find any pennies today?

Summer, goodbye

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Labor Day Weekend. The End of Summer. I don’t look forward to the end of summer as it occurs in the Northeast. I don’t like the early darkness, the cold weather approaching. I dislike the feel of heavy coats. I live for the early sunrise, the late sunsets, the warm stillness of a summer morning as it gives way to the beating heat of the afternoon. The first feel of cold water under my feet, whether from a lake, pond, ocean, or pool. I like short sleeves, the freedom of no shoes. I like summer. And here it is coming to an end — traitor that it is.  It takes such a long time to arrive, with winter not wanting to release its grasp long into April. Once here, she seems to waiver on her commitment to stay: some days this year were as cold as spring. And once she is given her assignment to leave, it seems she can’t wait to go — her Florida vacation booked, her bags all packed. She has no problem making way for the bullying line-men of winter barreling down upon her. I wish she were more of a fighter. But, that’s life in the Northeast. One day I hope to follow her around, getting out of town myself, before the first frost covers the grass. I keep reminding myself that autumn is wonderful, too. (Although, as it is winter’s little brother, I keep one leery eye on it.) In the meantime, I’m armed to the teeth with my newly acquired super-duper ice scraper — let the games begin.

But on a more positive note, the cooler air does bring along the promises of hearty comfort foods — soups and stews simmering on the stove, apple and pumpkin picking, all ending with a Thanksgiving dinner at a long table with family … not so bad.  But I will tell you the truth, we summer bumpkins will be counting the days until the summer sun still shines at 8:30 p.m., the beach chairs are set on the sand, and the blue of sky and water are only separated by a thin line of white clouds, or the haze of  the sun rising peaks out from behind the trees …   Yes, the countdown starts this weekend … IMG_2146