I was sorry to see the faithful penny removed from the line up of our Canadian currency. I always felt the penny, just like the sturdy red caboose that was, for me, the explanation mark of the travelling freight train, spoke of history and continuity, and now both mingle together in our past.
I collect pennies and look for them where they lay, dropped forgotten to the ground; their colour calls of age, the thin dark tone turning with time and the elements to the antique patina I love. I think of those who handled each penny before me, and am amazed at the size of the older pieces from the early 1900’s. Back then, when you had a handful of pennies jingling in your pocket, you must have felt buoyed by wealth as you strutted into the penny candy store.
The penny sparks my imagination and I will miss them amongst the other coins gathering at the bottom of my purse.
Say good-bye to the penny, and say good-bye to that bow to lady luck:
Find a penny pick it up…then all day you’ll have good luck.
Find a penny, leave it be…and bad luck will come to thee.
Did you know that the rhyme in the original Mother Goose actually read as follows:
See a pin and pick it up,
All the day you’ll have good luck.
See a pin and let it lay,
Bad luck you’ll have all day.
Apparently, needles and pins were very expensive during the middle ages and their value, like the penny, deserved a teaching rhyme.
And what about all our favourite idioms: cost a pretty penny, pretty as a penny, penny for your thoughts, just to list off a few. Will we now turn the phrase and claim, “why you’re as new as a nickel” or “you’re quite a quarter aren’t you?” How about, “she’s as dizzy as a dime”? Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue does it? I suppose like anything, change takes time…pardon the pun!