I believe in picking up pennies. It may sound rash but, I declare that with the slight bend of the knees and a twist at the waist the act of picking up a penny can be entirely life altering.
Growing up as the youngest of four girls in a middle class suburbia, I was trained at a very young age to believe in the magic of pennies. My mother loved this copper coin more than she did me. As she coerced my sisters and I to go for a “walk” we knew what the real intentions of a “walk” meant. Going for a walk meant walking on high traffic sidewalks and even walking through an occasional drive thru on a desperate search for pennies. Nevertheless being the youngest I fell victim to these “walks” more than all my sisters combined.
When my mom would find a penny the heavens opened, the sun shined and the world became more beautiful and glorious than ever before. Once she clasped her hands around the penny she would lift up her arms and yell, “Score!” It didn’t matter how horrible her day was, how old and beat up the penny was. When a stranded penny fell into her hands, life became marvelous and she became the happiest women in the world.
I will never forget my mother standing in the parking lot of my freshman college dormitory. After saying a teary goodbye our well trained eyes become fixated on two shiny pennies right under our feet. “This is fate,” she said as she took one penny and I took the other. From that day I became an avid believer in picking up pennies.
When I see a penny I relive the hours upon hours of walks. I remember the hours of long talks and the thousands of times I have seen my mother rejoice at tiny, rusted, flattened, dirty pennies.
Believing in picking up pennies has gotten me through a variety of trials. It has made the wonderful days in my life that much brighter. The day I married my husband Yong Boo was so beautiful. It was as if the ocean that surrounds Hawaii where we were living was filled to the brim with pennies.
I now live in South Korea with my husband. Korea has a coin that is equivalent to a U.S. penny, but it just isn’t the same. Lucky for me I stole a penny out of my mother’s wallet before I left for Korea. When I get homesick for my mother I pull the penny out of my wallet and picture where my mom is right at that moment. Whether she is on a walk, cleaning up her classroom at her work or at home, I know that her eyes are unconsciously searching for a penny. I know that once she finds that penny the heavens will once again open, the sun will once again shine and my mother will once again yell her legendary, “Score!”
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