Loose change can get heavy

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wow, my purse was heavy as I grabbed it from the car seat and hurried into the grocery store. I deposited it in a cart and took off on a whirlwind buzz up and down a few aisles. I snatched the items on my list from the shelves, avoiding temptation to stop and look at things I didn’t need. As I pushed my cart in a checkout lane and took out my billfold, I noticed the side pocket was bulging. No, it wasn’t puffed with bills but with change.

Yes, change. That was the main culprit weighting down my purse. It was easier to pop a credit card out than to hold up a line digging in the change.

When I got home, I dumped the change out to take inventory. Among a couple of dimes, a nickel and a quarter, I found pennies, lots and lots of pennies. I put a few back in the change pocket and dropped the rest in a little bowl on my desk. At that second, it struck me. I wondered how many pennies people hoard day after day all over this nation. I know that many people collect them, looking for that rare find that will bring them a lot of money. Then there are those like me who push them aside in a decorative bowl or a dresser drawer to tend to another day. Maybe sometime I’ll take time to roll them and cash them in.

No telling what a variety of places pennies wind up. I have found loose pennies in purses I keep in a wardrobe to switch out from time to time. Some people keep their collections in fruit jars, jugs, and even old tin boxes (that’s where I found some of my grandmother’s buttons recently. Maybe some sort them by date and keep them in neat, labeled envelopes. Those who are serious collectors might even stash them in a safety deposit box in a bank.

From a quick scan of the Internet, I learned that at times, there has been talk of completely eliminating the penny. One site revealed that there are people who are totally in favor of that. In fact, one person actually said he just threw them away when he got any. Imagine that. I’d guess that person wasn’t from my generation. He or she never experienced the thrill of standing in a grocery store in front of a candy case with three or four pennies clutched in his or her hand, deciding what penny candies to buy.

I guess I’m just old-fashioned. I wouldn’t like it if our government decided to quit minting pennies. Even these days when I find a penny, I just can’t help it. I bend down and pick it up and consider myself lucky. And when they weight me down, there’s always that bowl on the dresser.