By Kathy Stevenson
They’re everywhere, those lucky pennies. A penny on the ground, shaken loose from a pocket or a purse. The person either didn’t notice, or didn’t want to bother, or had the common sense not to pick it back up off the filthy pavement.
I spotted one just now, glinting brightly on the dull linoleum floor of the English department building. I did not pick it up. My husband Jim used to pick up every errant coin. He had a sixth sense for seeing them, as did I after decades of being married to him. I often spotted coins that I felt sure he would notice, but I purposefully would not draw attention to them. It gave me a small satisfaction to walk by these discarded coins without alerting him. Part of it was his upbringing—a hardscrabble childhood where every penny counted and was accounted for. But part of it was also just his nature. He simply couldn’t not pick up the coins. And ultimately, that’s what killed him.