Friday, April 6, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Deb: Recently the Canadian government decided to stop minting the penny. The bottom line of this reasoning is that it costs too much to produce and can buy very little.

I actually agree with this idea so if you are expecting a rant, you will be sorely disappointed. The penny, despite being the low man on the coin roll, managed to outlive the one and two dollar bills, Sunday as a day of rest, and even the Dominion of Canada.  As a result, the penny will proudly go out with its “heads you win” held high.
 
The finance minister actually had a good idea regards the copper’s demise. He suggested to Canadians that they free their pennies from their jar prisons and give them a good home in a charitable organization.  A darn fine idea and I support it.  Although I wish the finance minister’s suggestion had been taken one step further. I wish the government had started a campaign to put that idea out there and make it a cross country goal. Call it something like PennyCanadal  and make it a reality. The more I think of this the more I think it would be an amazing sendoff for the penny. The lowly copper could go out with a hero’s farewell! In fact I would take it one step farther. Since the Government says it will save 11 million a year as a result of scrapping the penny, why can’t they put half of that towards charity themselves? Or if they can’t do that, perhaps all of it could be placed into social programs that are being scrapped or cut back. Wouldn’t that be Pennies from heaven! 

I got to thinking about the penny and what it meant to me when I was a kid. To this day, every single time I see a penny on the floor I say, “Find a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.” I do confess that there have been times when my burning desire for good luck was outweighed by my lack of interest in picking up said penny from a gross sticky unfamiliar floor. In those instances I convince myself that we make our own luck!  Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I wait for my gag reflex to abate.

But wow, when I was a kid, a penny could garner three Sour Strawberries or two Lickemaids or a Fruit Compriment, or three Black Balls, or a Sour Key or a licorice pipe. A penny was akin to a pirates booty. And a mere three pennies’ worth of penny candy would guarantee you the most “worth it” upset stomach!  Add to that the fact that playing Rummoli will never be the same without the penny. Remember pinning all your hopes and dreams on the 7-8-9 sequence which was always full up with pennies in the last moments of the game. I remember my ten-year-old self thinking, “Just need the 8 and I’m rich. I’M RICH!!!!!”

*Sidebar* I JUST found out as I went online that Rummoli is a Canadian game, which I NEVER  knew. So to those that don’t know the game, suffice it  to say, it was cards with a big plastic playing board and you bet pennies!

But best of all, even more than what the penny could buy, was the way it looked when it was new. A new penny is a thing to behold. Today’s penny is made of mostly steel, but the penny of my childhood was a gleaming golden red copper, Maple Leaf on one side, Queen on the other.

So penny, I won’t miss you filling up my wallet and I won’t miss you crowding the piggy bank. But I will miss the idea of you and what you stood for in simpler times ... My two cents.

Come on, you knew I had to end with that.

Barbara: My two cents? I’ll miss it. Like you, I don’t need it, I don’t like the crowded wallet, thanks to instant debit, I can barely even remember the last time I pulled out a penny (or rolled a stack), but it is a piece of nostalgia that I do hold dear.

I was never much of a penny-candy girl (frankly, don’t even remember them), more of a chocolate nut (still am). I used to save my precious babysitting quarters for Mars bars and Crunchies. But still ... the penny!!!! It’s a penny. Copper (or at least copper-coloured), etched with its distinct images, a comforting weight in your hand, more lovely and elegant than all the rest. On its way out now like the Canadian dollar and 2-dollar bills before it. Maybe now, too, the winsome “a penny for your thoughts” will go the way of “egads”, “forsooth”, and “malarky”...






43 comments:

  1. I was just reading about this the other day. Really interesting. I also read something about the U.S. considering the same thing. I don't know how I would feel about it. I know the penny isn't the most useful piece of currency, but...
    I would miss it. I have always saved my change, especially pennies, and that money has got me a lot: case in point, my coin savings are paying for 2 summer trips this year.
    I don't know, I guess I worry what the loss of the penny would do to us all financially. How would it effect prices? That sort of thing. And I would just miss having them. I don't particularly like the artwork on the U.S. penny, but still...
    Penny for your thoughts...Thoughts are going to get more expensive then!!!
    P.S. Am I the only on that still says "forsooth"?!?! Hmm...Too much time spent with Shakespeare, then. He tends to rub off on you.

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    1. Actually they will round up the amount to the nearest nickel Steph so that will be easy. And don't worry about forsooth. Shakespeare is a good role model no?

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    2. Yes he is! And, a random bit of knowledge, his 448th birthday is April 23rd! (Sad fact: he died on his birthday in 1616).

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  2. I Love "But I will miss the idea of you and what you stood for in simpler times" In Montreal, we had a great candy store called Deguires and a penny got you somewhere then. I remember walking to the store with a few friends and just a few pennies and sitting on the grass eating our loot.

    I guess I will miss what it represents...simpler times, slower times, less expensive times and good memories. Our world seemed so small then (of course there wasn't the internet) Did we use our imagination more instead of the computer, television and video games? Going to a movie was a huge treat, one to really look forward to. We played outside all day and had to come in when the street lights came on. But we had a million games going on and were physically tired from running around, biking, climbing trees, and all the things that went along with that days adventure (to be continues the next day) Wow, that little penny brought back lovely childhood memories!! I'd say I got more than my money's worth!!!

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    1. Lovely Mary-Jo, lovely. Yes we got our money's worth didn't we?

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  3. I read about this in the local newspaper here. I think we can relate to this in the way that when we changed from f. mark to euros our goverment decided that we will not use the 1 or 2 cents. I am not sure but I think we might be the only euro country that does so. I still have old and new marks which I sometimes look at just for the fun of it. I just remember that I should have an old canadian coin as well... Can't remember where I got it. Will check that when I get home.

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    1. Kasku they were talking about one Canadian penny that went in auction for $2000.00 so start searching!

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    2. Oh, boy I can't wait till monday night when I get home to see what I have. Although I am pretty sure it wasn't a penny :/

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    3. Not a penny but 5 cent from 1975. :)

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  4. I heard a rumor that the U.S. mint was planning to do the same thing (still not sure if it's true or not). But I do agree, Deb, that pennies hold some fond memories for me as well.

    My parents still keep a huge jar of pennies (i do mean huge, it's about 2 feet tall), we call it the penny jar. I still don't know how it came about. I also remember a gas station not too far from my house that used to sell the little Tootsie rolls for a penny.

    I have a British penny too! :)

    I suppose the penny, whether in Canada, the U.S, wherever, is on to bigger and better things. Kind of like us.

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    1. Nicely put Holly! And if they pennies all go to charity I will be a happy girl!

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  5. Hey Ladies

    I agree that the penny is tied to a simpler time but for the life of me I can't remember what a penny bought. I remember always saving them and being one of eight children you tended to hoard or hide your loot. When I was very young we had something called food carts on every block in the summer. And of course more importantly the ice cream man (Mr. Softee) made his rounds too. So there was always some use for the spare change.

    I still collect them in a large jar and to be honest I like how the jar looks in my living room. It reminds me of a time when the kids were here and their excitement at finding a penny and putting it in the jar. Or later on teaching them to read the dates on them and looking for dates of significance and the best finding a brand new one.

    My mom also loves pennies and they have sentimental significance for her. She was very close to her Dad sadly he died suddenly of a heart attack in his fifties before I was born. My mom told me he used to leave pennies on her pillow when she was a little girl. Now when she finds them she knows without a doubt they are from her dad. When she recently acquired a Pomeranian pup she named her Penny for that reason.

    Think of all the expressions regarding pennies like shiny like a new penny and penny for your thoughts. My favorite joke about that goes - how come it's a penny for your thoughts and but you have to put your two cents in? Someone is making a penny.

    Thanks for the nostalgia!

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    1. I love that story of your Mom and why she loves pennies. And that joke is great. I also think why did they have the expression "he's a bad penny?" where did that come from?

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    2. Hey Deb

      I found this on a site called word detective

      A “penny” to us here in the US (and to many of you furriners) is a coin worth one cent (from the Latin “centum,” one hundred), or 1/100th of a dollar. The origins of “penny” are uncertain, but it’s a very old word with relatives in many languages, and may have come from a root meaning “pledge.”

      Pennies today are viewed as nearly worthless by many people (although not so many as a year ago), but when the term “bad penny” first appeared in the 18th century, pennies were serious money. This made them ripe targets for counterfeiters, and to reach into your pocket or purse and discover that you had ended up with such a counterfeit coin, a “bad” penny, was a depressing and annoying experience. The only recourse available if you were stuck with a “bad penny” was to try to spend it as quickly as possible and hope that an inattentive shopkeeper would take it. But because everyone was trying to unload their “bad pennies” this way, according to the common wisdom of the time, your odds of encountering one, or even the very same one you had gotten rid of a week earlier, were quite high. Thus “bad penny” became an idiom meaning “an unwanted thing that keeps showing up.”

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  6. I read this the other day.....I guess on FB.. dont remember where....As you know...I REALLY dont have anything to say about the CANADIAN penny...(although it looks really cute)...You made me remember my school days full of "COINS" in general......being a Art-nut I always liked keeping a paper over coins and tracing the beautiful designs on the paper....and LAUGHING !!! I so remember buying 'Indian Jujubes'(they look like cranberries, you can google it) sprinkled with salt and pepper...or Indianized FLA.VOR.ICE...!!!! OMG....!!! LOVED THOSE DAYS !!
    I LOVED THE charity Idea...better said the PENNYCANADAL!...That would really be the awesomest way to say goodbye.
    And you DO create your own luck.....I suppose you knew I'd say that :P but...even if I wasnt an optimist...I WOULD SAY that....coz I have a low gag threshold too.....you wrote "sticky unfamiliar floor" and my gagging went on random dancing mode here!! lol
    But Mr.penny you were very important to my Darling Deb so...THANKS FOR EVERYTHING....and we all love you ! :)..oh and SO LOONG ....

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    1. I loved tracing coins too!

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    2. I KNOW...Its so much fun !!!!

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    3. Shalaka I had TOTALLY forgotten about tracing coins! I used to love that. Thanks for the memory. The jujubes sound good!

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  7. Aww poor pennies. I collect coins so in way it will now make these pennies more valuable but on the other hand I don't want them to just round everything to the dollar and outlaw all coins 8 )
    I have many Canadian pennies that I thought were too large of a collection but I guess I will be holing on to them now. In many years I guess they will be worth something!
    I love coins to collect. Strangely I never use them at stores or anything. I always just throw the change into the bottom of the bag and then at home see if there is anything worth putting in my collection book and the rest goes in the ole piggy bank. It is a good way for me to make sure I save : )
    I ended up with $70 in there that I put towards my recent trip to Daytona Beach, FL!
    Ok I will stop talking endlessly about coins now.
    Have a wonderful weekend!! ( feel free to replace weekend with whatever suits your time zone better :) )

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    1. I collect coins too! I never use them either. I go through them once a week or so to see if I have anything interesting and put the non-interesting ones in my "piggy" bank. My coins are paying for 2 trips this summer, so it really pays off(pun intended...sort of).

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    2. Kelly and Steph I think it's fantastic that you guys are coin collectors. Lovely things to collect. Think of the adventures those coins have had.

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  8. find a penny give it away, then good luck will come and stay. lets give them all away to charity.

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  9. I wrote an adieu to the penny on my blog last week and I'll sort of miss it while not at all if that makes any sense. I've already put a few pennies from each generation which I dug out from the change jar (at least one of each Queens head) and added them to my little collection of out of date and odd currency. I hadn't pulled out that little bag in years, my grandfather started the collection when he was a kid and it was passed down to me over time so it's got a few interesting coins in it. I went through it with the kids and it sure was fun to examine all the coins and old bills from years gone by.

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    1. Oh Erin I think that is fantastic. And how nice for the kids too. Living history lesson!

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  10. I just relized that my comment is really random. Wow. My great grandmother always said that if you have a pennie your never be poor.i dnt knw if i believe that but that is what she said.

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    1. It's true. Because if you have a penny, you have money. Not random at all!

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  11. The US is considering it but not really. We like to spend foolishly down here. It costs us more to make them as well but rounding up will make us crazy about where that extra money goes. I hate the penny and store them in my car so when I get enough I can go to the coin machine in the market (pay 10% ) and get a coupon for that market or cash back. Also use them for the Dreidel Game at Hannukah. :)

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  12. Of course Madge, another great use for the penny! The Dreidel game. Thanks for that.

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  13. Hi,Glenda from CR, I just popped in after a long absence, and after reading the blog, couldn´t help but be reminded of a poem..
    PENNIES FROM HEAVEN...Author Unknown
    I found a penny today
    Just lying on the ground.
    But it´s not JUST a penny
    This little coin I found.

    Found Pennies come from Heaven
    That´s what my grandpa told me,
    He said, "Angels toss them down,"
    Oh,how I love that story.

    He said, "When angels miss you,
    They toss a penny down.
    Sometimes to cheer you up,
    And make a smile out of a frown"

    So dont´pass by that penny,
    When you´re feeling blue,
    It may be a penny from Heaven,
    That an angle tossed to you.

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  14. Glenda I love this poem. Simply love it! Thanks for sending. It's a keeper.

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  15. reading this i hope it is not uncouth to ask did you guys ever hear of the term to spend a penny , meaning to go to the bathroom ? when my mom was young public toilets cost 1 old penny to use (pre decemilsiation penny that is ) my mom stillm uses the term to this day !
    since in 2002 we moved away from the Irish pound and pence to the euro and the cent it can now cost up to 30 cent to spend a penny !

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    1. forgot to add . happy blogiversary for the 1st . better late then never i reckon !

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    2. Linda thanks for the anniversary kudos. as far as spend a penny, I have never heard that but I love it. I think it's great!

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  16. We still have the One EuroCent coin...and I don't want to lose it. I know that some countries don't really use it, because their prices are not like 3,99 but 3,95 (at least that's what I experienced in Spain). I tried to collect Euro coins, because they are different for every country. The One Cent coin is always hardest to get...

    They're pretty...but they don't cause the same emotions or recollections like the "Pfenning" (that's penny in German)...It was a symbol for luck.
    And there was the same saying, if you found one, you could make a wish. :)

    And your stories remind me of the ones, my Mom told me. She went to the store to buy candy for half a penny. That's just amazing. :)

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    1. Becki I think you summed it up. It has no meaning regards it's monitory worth but huge meaning regards it's sentiment.

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  17. Becki respectfully i have to say i disagree . i would not be sad to see the back of the one cent coin here in Ireland at any rate . ( just to explain all European countries have the same currency , the euro ) i get a good few of them from time to time and they flood by plastic cash bag . if you want any Irish euro coins get in touch . i would be happy to send you a couple .

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    1. aww...Linda, no problem!
      We have a lot of one cent coins, too...you just don't see a lot of foreign one cent coins in Germany...maybe it has changed, I don't know...I don't collect them anymore. It's very kind of you, though! :)

      I guess it depends.^^

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  18. Linda I don't know what the coin situation is in Ireland but given what we are going through here I can say that I see your point. Sometimes a coin or anything can outlive it's usefulness, I totally agree. It doesn't negate it useful qualities though in the end, does it?

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  19. Yes, "a penny for your thoughts" is long overdue for a cost of living adjustment. Most of mine are worth a nickel now.

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