Sunday, September 4, 2011

Coins, Like People, Can Be Cast Aside-------and Redeemed.......

It all started about ten years ago when I was in Richmond, VA, on a weekend business trip. On Saturday morning I decided that my recent weight gain would have to be addressed, and I vowed to begin walking briskly before work on a daily basis to boost my activity level as I dieted.

As I strode out of the motel lobby and into the parking lot, I noticed a small, shiny object against the curb. Close inspection revealed that it was a dime that someone had lost.

Without thinking, I picked it up and put it in my pocket. I didn't think about that coin again until I returned to my room and felt the small disk next to my room key in my pocket.

I looked at it closely. It must have been on the street a very short time, I reasoned. The surface was smooth, unworn by the elements. The date was recent. I began to wonder how the little coin had been lost. Perhaps someone had a hole in his pocket. Perhaps someone pulled something from her pocket and the coin happened to tumble out inadvertently.

I wondered what stories that little coin could tell. Who had lost it? To whom had it belonged over the months between its birth at the U.S. Mint and now?

Oddly, those questions seemed to stay with me all day. That night, I decided to walk once again, this time in the glow of a Virginia full moon.

Now, if you have ever walked briskly on a daily basis, you know that it can be a downright boring chore. I thought that I would actively look for coins on the sidewalk and in the parking lots that made up my walking track. Perhaps that activity would aid in my battle against the boredom of walking.

Of course, I didn't expect to actually find anything at night, but there was a good moonglow that could reflect against metal, so I was hopeful.

Yes! Fifteen minutes into my trek, I spotted a glimmer in the gloaming---a penny!

From that day to this, I have walked on a daily basis, and I have broken the drudgery of my walks by searching for coins. Over time, I have begun to see these coins as "lost souls" begging for a home. I have found them in parking lots, on sidewalks, in streets and in the most unimaginable places.

The Orphanage
If you look for them, they are there, silently pleading to be found and given a good home.

Most of the coins are, of course, pennies. Perhaps some folks think a penny has no real value and isn't even worth the energy required to bend down and pick it up. But there are also nickels, dimes and quarters lying around, waiting to be rescued.

Over the years, I have come to refer to these coins as "orphans". I keep them in a special bank called, of course, "the orphanage". Many of the orphans are pathetic in their physical appearance---worn and weathered, thinned by the elements, perhaps half of their original thickness. Many are so worn that you cannot read the date or any of the inscriptions on them. Some look to be brand new, shiny and proud.

Inside the Orphanage
My orphans come from probably half the states in the contiguous United States where I have traveled. My wife, Cindy, has also caught the bug, and she avidly searches for our lost souls when she travels with me.

Our favorite place to search is the French Quarter in New Orleans. Look closely under the benches at Jackson Square. Keep your eyes on the ground on Bourbon Street. Where you find one coin, your chance of finding another nearby is excellent. Some days you will find none. Other days will yield multiple finds.

Of course, we can never spend our orphans. They are special, just like people who are lost and then miraculously found. And, like people, the true value of each of our orphans is the same, whether it is a quarter or a penny. Some are worth a worn out penny. Some are worth 25 times that much.

But, like people, they are all lost souls, kindred spirits, now found, in a warm, safe place. They, like human beings, have had the chance of the miracle of being saved. And they will never again experience the indignity of having no respect, of being lost and useless in a wealthy society.

Posted by Clint Sept 4, 2011

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  1. Hi there, Clint!! Thank you for visiting my blog. I consider it an honor that you would have taken the time to do so, and to be a "follower." When I found your blog, I instantly wanted to "follow"....I love the title and your writing is so fun, interesting and yet thought provoking. This is a great post. Funny, I have thought the same thing about money, coins, etc.....Who has touched this? Who has this belonged to? What was/is going on in this person's life? I love how you and your wife have started this new collection but are able to tie in spiritual meaning (isn't that how it works with the Holy Spirit?) ~ God can bring thought provoking ideas, and love and compassion to our heart for others, even from a simple coin. Marvelous writing, marvelous thoughts....thank you!!

  2. I Would love to know the dollar amount of all the coins you found over the 10 years. Interesting story!

  3. It's good to see this story again, I was so proud of you when it ran in the Dallas Morning News as a guest column. Let's see, this week I rescued two orphans and found them both on our little lane!

  4. Hi Clint- I chose you for The Versatile Blogger award. Congrats! You can receive the award here Hope Faith & Life. I also wrote a description as to why I chose you. Not sure if you post awards, but you received one : )

  5. I had a walking group in Florida and we always found orphans. We thought we were lucky but later found one of the husbands was going out the evening before and casting pennies about to keep us interested. Since Cindy has found some also, she is probably innocent of such sneakiness.
    Arkansas Patti

  6. Wonderful post, Clint. Very inspiring.

  7. I love your piggy bank and your persistence, how much have you collected so far? I'm curious what we throw away or lose on a daily basis. This is such a fantastic way to break up the monotony of the same old thing every day, if I had some ambition I'd go out for a walk right about now but it's not looking like it's going to transpire... just a lazy Sunday on my end. Have a great evening!

  8. That is too cute! Hubby has eyes like a hawk...and always finds coins... have to read him this one...

  9. Some serious thought went into this post and I want you to know how much I appreciated what you've written here. I hope you and Cindy have a good weekend. Blessings...Mary

  10. Nice post and I can´t understand people not picking up a penny. In Germany an old proverb says:

    "Wer den Penny nicht ehrt ist des Talers nicht wert"

    that means: who doesn´t honor the penny doesn´t deserve the dollar.

  11. Loved the blog. you have put a different aspect on lost coins found in the street. Never thought of it that way before.


  12. A very good story!!
    I can understand that it was printed in the Dallas Mornings News!!!

  13. My dad used to do this same thing, but back when you could find a lot more "old" coins. It got him started in coin collecting. I like the proverb behind your hobby.

  14. What a wonderful post Clint! So well done! My kids get so excited when they find coins (or orphans) on the ground and their piggy banks have reaped the benefits! I often wonder where my money has been...

  15. If we come back there to visit I will bring you some Ozzie coins and of course I will place them on a diner table to find, as hpefully we will get to meet you and Cindy. ..I think this is a lovely thing to do. I believe I will start and tell Ray also..

  16. Oh shoot, i had this whole great (at least i thought) comment typed up and then it disappeared! oh well crap!
    Anyway i loved your tale and the story behind it!
    big hugs from Indiana

  17. What a great find.
    Good luck with your walking to get your weight down.

  18. You have a wonderful and poetic way of looking at life and its moments! Love this.

  19. THis is powerful. The redemption of the lost, the abandoned fits perfectly into the eternal message. We are rescued. We are freed. We are kept!

  20. A pleasure to read your blog!
    Olava (Norway)

  21. I am willing to adopt any left over "orphans".

  22. Love the spirit of your post... We all have a place and, sometimes, we just need a guiding hand to show us the way. Thanks!