The Power of a Penny

Christie - Metairie, Louisiana
Entered on May 3, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the power of a penny. It weighs almost nothing, and I can’t buy much with it; however, one penny can bring me luck, strength, and endless memories of a friend in heaven.

As a child, sitting on my grandpa’s lap and attempting to drive his golf cart, a glimmer of something small and round glimmered on the pavement: a penny. Pops pulled the cart over and asked me to hop out and pick it up. “Why?” I asked. “Haven’t you ever heard that finding a penny brings good luck,” he replied. So, I picked up that little penny and stuck it in my shoe for good luck.

As I got older, the usefulness of the penny decreased, but to me, the value got bigger. Sitting at Pop’s kitchen table, holding cards in my hand and sporting my best poker face, I stuck my free hand in the bowl of one hundred pennies used for the poker game. The cold metal touched my anxious hand as the other held my secret weapon: a straight of clubs. The pennies, strewn all over the table, became a symbol of my victory.

As I grew a little older, Hurricane Katrina devastated my city, but my family stuck together. Through the howling wind, loss of electricity, and rain that stung as it hit my cheeks, the familiar pennies kept me whole. Stranded in a motel for days, Pops whipped out the pennies and the cards, and I played with him until the sun went down. I felt safe, and those same pennies I found on the pavement, abandoned by someone who thought they were worthless, gave me strength and hope that my life would soon return back to normal.

Now, as a high school senior, those same pennies with Abraham Lincoln always neatly engraved on the side still have meaning. Recently, my beloved Pops passed away while in the hospital. When I stepped outside and the doors of the hospital closed behind me, the first thing I saw was a familiar, shiny penny. “Pennies from heaven,” Grammy said.

The next week, at my track meet, I looked to the stands as I realized Pops, who always made a point to attend, was not there. Upset from a bad race, I picked up my things to leave. When I got to the gate, something caught my eye. An old, rusted penny lay right next to my shoe. Pops had been at the meet the whole time, watching from the best view in the stadium, so I picked up my penny from heaven and put it in my shoe for good luck.