Pennies From Heaven


Pennies From Heaven


I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny
This little coin I've found.

I spied it there, in the middle of the bathroom floor, a Lincoln head penny staring up at me from the tile. I picked it up and grinned at old Abe. I was getting ready for a woman's prayer breakfast at church, but I took the time to walk back into my bedroom and carefully place the penny in a china cup on my dresser. It clinked against the other coins in the cup--a pleasant reminder of just how many of these little treasures I have accumulated in the past few months.

I've been picking up coins off the floors for years. I used to rail at my husband and sons: The spillage from their pockets broke the belts on my vacuum cleaner, found their way into the crevices of my woodwork, and stuck to the wax on the kitchen floor. Coins lived in the couch cushions or the car seats or hid in the pockets of jeans that were carelessly thrown into the washer, rattling around in wild abandonment. 

My husband would just smile at me and shrug. "Pennies from heaven," he would say, "means an angel is thinking of you." Then he would bend down and carefully pick the penny up and stick it in his pocket, heedless to the fact that it would likely end up on the floor again. I tried, with varying degrees of success, to accept a habit I couldn't change. I ordered vacuum cleaner belts in bulk. 

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In his final years Ron was no longer able to bend and pick up the wayward coins, but he still delighted in finding them. "Look, Linda," he would shout. "A penny! Hurry and pick it up!" So I would, and he would say, "A penny from heaven!" Once in a while I would ponder where all the pennies were coming from. Ron's pockets were mostly empty as he became more and more disabled, and his wardrobe consisted of easy on/easy off clothing. The pennies found their way into a jar we kept on his dresser. Finding coins in unexpected places delighted him. 

Found pennies come from heaven
that's what my Grandma told me.
She said Angels tossed them down
Oh, how I loved that story!

Like the other items that resided in the room that became Ron's the last nine months, the jar was eventually moved. I took the contents to the change machine at the bank. I used the few dollars to buy flowers for his grave.

But a few days after Ron passed away, I found a penny right there in the hallway where I had just vacuumed the day before. I told myself it must have come from Allen, even though I knew Allen was favoring athletic shorts with no pockets in the last days of summer and, with the disregard for social conventions characteristic of adults with autism, kept his change in a plastic bag. I picked the penny up and put it on my dresser.

She said when an Angel misses you
They toss a penny down,
sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile out of your frown.

Coins kept showing up, sometimes in the hallway or the steps, once on the bedroom floor, a few times under the couch. The coins were mostly pennies, although the occasional dime or nickel would appear. I asked Allen if he was dropping money and he just shrugged. I took a cup my best friend had given me and started collecting the coins. And every time I found one, I thought of my husband. "Quick, Linda! Pick it up! It's a penny from heaven!"

This morning's coin, I figured, was just one more reminder of my beloved Ron--perhaps a "have a good time at the woman's breakfast" or an "I'm thinking of you today" or a mere coincidence. It didn't matter to me. I hummed a couple of bars of that old Bing Crosby ditty, "Pennies from Heaven," and got ready to go out.

My daughter arrived a few minutes later and as we drove the short distance to the church, I told her about the penny. "That's Daddy," she agreed. "He was always dropping coins." After the breakfast was over, I asked her to drive by the cemetery.

"Dad's gravestone was supposed to be in last week," I said. "But it wasn't. I want to check." It had been hard to see the stone two weeks ago when it arrived at Lawncroft. It would be harder still to see it over his grave. If possible, I wanted my daughter with me.

So don't pass by that penny
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven
That an Angel's tossed to you.

Author: Copyright © 1998 C Mashburn

"I put roses there on Valentine's Day," I told my daughter as she parked the car and we walked the short distance across the ground. "I hope they're still there."

Bonnie stopped and grabbed my arm. "The roses are there, Mom. And the stone," she said. "Daddy's marker. It's there."

And it was. The Indian red stone for his favorite color, the flying eagle for his favorite football team, and John 3:16 for his favorite Bible verse. And his name and dates: Ronald A. Cobourn, 1951-2019.

Bonnie and I stood for a moment hugging each other. And I remembered that penny on the bathroom floor. That penny that maybe came from Ron. That penny that reminded me that while widowhood had some very rough moments, it also had some wonderful memories. 

Like all of those pennies I've collected in the china cup in the last seven months. 

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So lovely, Linda. So comforting to know the pennies remind you that Ron’s love surrounds you.