Pennies from heaven

I pulled out my winter coat yesterday and discovered a familiar surprise. My hand brushed against it as I rooted around my pocket for a glove.

It had been eight months since I’d worn that coat so I was kind of curious what I’d find. To-do list? Receipt? Thank-you note I’d forgotten to mail?

Happily, it turned out to be a folded up dollar bill, which made me smile.

Back in the early years of our marriage, I used to find crumbled up money in my coat pockets all the time. Windfall cash, I reasoned. Time for a treat.

I refused to carry a purse back then and sometimes wadded up my change, stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it. “Well lookie here,” I’d say delightedly when I wore that coat again. “Mama’s got some cash. Who wants ice cream?”

My wallet-carrying, receipt-reviewing, change-counting husband could not relate.

“How does this keep happening?” he’d ask. “Do you think your dad is sneaking cash into your pocket?”

At least some of the time, I do think that’s what happened. My dad was a prankster and a generous man. Sticking some money in my coat pocket when I wasn’t looking was a classic Grandpa Ron move, and he came by it honestly.

His mother, the formidable Grandma Kostelnik, used to sneak cash into my pocket when I left her house. I’d call her when I got home to protest her covert kindness.

“It’s just a little gas money,” she’d say.

So, I like to think either one of them might have been responsible for the dollar I found in my pocket yesterday, even though they’ve both been gone for a long, long time. They had a lot in common, those two hooligans. They shared a birthday (25 years apart) and curly hair neither one of them appreciated. They loved Colver, Pennsylvania and the woods surrounding it. They liked to offer their guests generous portions of food and they also liked when those guests cleared out promptly at the appointed hour. Neither was entirely comfortable in a crowd.

More than anything, they shared a fierce devotion to their family.

So, I felt like I had a little company yesterday as I walked to work and pondered my surprise dollar bill. Such a treat!

Who wants ice cream?

Here are the two hooligans on 20 Row in Colver, Pennsylvania. They share a birthday, a love of solitude and a devotion to family.
I like this photo booth collection of me and my dad.
This is my grandma on the front porch of her house on 20 Row. She is about to slip some cash in my pocket as we make our way off her porch to our car to begin our trip back to Wisconsin. My sister Kathy used to road trip with us, which is actually kind of amazing when you think about how long the trip from Colver to Appleton is and how many people we crammed into our car.
It’s just a dollar and I probably left it there last spring, but it’s also kind of cool to think my dad and my grandma might be up there stirring up trouble, sticking money in pockets and keeping an eye on things.

6 thoughts on “Pennies from heaven

  1. Grandmas are amazing! I love mine so much and miss her. I too, find things in unusual places sometimes that I think she left for me. May you treasure the memories. Blessings!

  2. Lived next door to the Kostelniks all my like, until they passed. Miss them. They were like my second parents. She was great at stuffing money for you to find it later. Would take her shopping and days later, would find it stuffed in my car. Love your stories, Laurie

    1. I love that story and I know they loved living next door to you and George too. So great to hear from you!

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