I must tell my story about pennies and my Mom. This story began a long time ago and over a period of time. Whenever my Mom and I would be together when we were visiting her or she was here with us, we liked to go for long walks. Whenever we’d see a penny, she would stop and pick it up. Now me, I never used to pick up pennies thinking them to be of no consequence.
After she passed away and I would see a penny, I began to pick them up because they reminded me of her and I loved thinking about her and replaying some of my memories of her. I can’t remember how or why I started this little game with myself, but I would playfully announce to anyone that was with me that Mom must be nearby because I had found a penny. I began to pick those pennies up and save them. It soon became a way for me to fill a need for her to be part of my everyday life.
When we went to Brazil, we had left our home in the warmth of summer and arrived to be greeted by Brazil’s winter season. Being a person who is miserable when cold, that first week there was one of great adjustment. I was cold and coming down with a cold, homesick, beginning what was tantamount to a new job working in the mission office and learning all the duties associated with that, couldn’t speak the Portuguese language, getting used to a different money system, and dealing with all sorts of stress. President U (the mission President) had invited us to go to Jacarei to attend a Rodeo with him and his wife. I told about this experience here.
As we wandered around the rodeo grounds, I looked down and sitting there in the dirt was an American penny. I was astounded. Here we were in Brazil, where the money is so far different than ours, and I find a penny; it made me feel that my Mother was really nearby and making sure that I knew it.
There was another amazing time in Brazil that I was at a major low point. We had just experienced having our apartment robbed of our laptop computer and various other goods. It would have been worse but we came home (although it was a little later than our usual time) and they didn’t have time to finish their raid (this is a whole story in and of itself). Shortly after that, we were walking from our apartment to the mission office and found a myriad of American pennies on the sidewalk. We picked them up and again I wondered if it was because my Mom was offering what comfort she could.
Since that time I continue to pick pennies up when I spot them. However, it seems like there are not so many pennies lying around on the ground these days. People are either hanging onto their pennies and/or picking pennies up where they used to pass them by like I used to do. We were shopping last Tuesday and as I walked out of the grocery store and moved toward our car, the thought went through my mind that it had been quite a while since I had found an errant penny lying on the ground. I finished that thought by thinking that perhaps I didn’t need my Mom to be so close any more. I no sooner than finished that thought, when I looked down on the parking lot and there was a bright, shiny penny winking up at me. As I picked the penny up, I marveled. I will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions, but I hug my conclusions to me in love and gratitude.