Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Penny found is a penny earned...

  Every morning around 6 on the days I don’t work, I take my 2 dogs for a walk to the Jiffy convenience store ¾ of a mile away instead of the normal half mile walk. I get a cup of coffee and they each get a beef stick as a treat. A lot of times I find loose change on the ground. Mostly I find pennies, but occasionally nickels, dimes and quarters. 2 weeks ago I found a dollar bill lying on the street and once I found at least 3 dollars in change on a sidewalk square at the courthouse. My dad walked in New Jersey a lot and always thought that finding loose change was the best economic indicator because when times are good people don’t bother to pick up the change that they drop. I’ve read that loose change is indicative of the obesity epidemic plaguing the country since the overweight can’t bend over to pick up the change falling from pockets. I like to think when I find loose change it is Jesus’ way of telling me not to worry about money because it is just waiting to be picked up when I need some.

  Yesterday, when we walked to the Jiffy to get our coffee and beef sticks, inside was a scruffy sort of fellow who was heating up a submarine sandwich in the microwave and loading it up with the free ketchup and onions that are by the hot dog station. 4 blocks into our walk back, I saw the same fellow coming out of an alleyway. He asked me how I was doing and I mentioned that his sandwich looked pretty good. He told me that he had that sandwich the entire day before and I was sorry I had said anything. They he asked me what day it was and we walked for a couple of blocks when I saw a penny on the curb. I bent over to get it and the guy says ‘Mine’. I said, ‘Finder, keepers’ and we went our separate ways.

  This morning, as the dogs and I were leaving the Jiffy parking lot, we saw Shirley. Shirley is a little old lady who lives in the apartments around the corner from my house. Shirley is very short and thin and walks at such a fast pace she seems to be scurrying. She collects bottles and cans during the week and takes them to the Jiffy to pay for her Sunday paper. Once she almost got arrested at the Jiffy when they finally caught her loading her paper with as many coupon sections from the other papers that she could fit into hers. She calls me Frank because she is hard of hearing, misunderstood my name the first time she asked, and I don’t feel like trying to correct her. Years ago, when Shirley used to see us walking back from the Jiffy, she would walk with us and I figured it was for protection. Once while we were walking, I saw a penny and picked it up. Shirley asked me ‘Are you going to keep that all to yourself?’ I told her yes I was. For a few months after that, whenever Shirley saw us walking, she scurried up ahead of us to find any loose change on the ground before me. And ever since, whenever she started walking alongside me and the dogs, I'll fish a coin out of my pocket and pretend to pick it up off the ground. When Shirley sees this, she shoots on ahead of me like clockwork and goes into ‘search mode’.

  Unfortunately, I had no change when Shirley decided to walk back with us this morning. I don’t mind Shirley, but she talks a lot, I enjoy the solitude of my walk with the dogs, and it is pretty funny to see her scoot on ahead of me to try to find the nonexistent change. When we were a block from the corner where she turns off, fortune smiled on me and I found a penny on the sidewalk right in front of us. Shirley asked me if she could have it, and I told her ‘No, if you were meant to have the penny, you would have found it’. I couldn’t resist asking Shirley if she had just found a hundred dollar bill, would she have shared it with me. She said of course she would. I am sorely tempted to tuck away a ‘Franklin’ for the next time Shirley joins our walk, but I would hate to have her disappoint me so I’ll just have to wait for the real thing to come along.