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”...