Day 10. Making Change(s)

Big changes a comin’ in Canada:  Pennies.  Going, going, soon to be gone.  We’ll be penniless.  According to Jim Flaherty, our (Canada’s) Finance Minister, they’re too expensive to produce; and they are not needed for business.  Apparently the savings to the annual budget will be $11 million.  And making change will never be the same.

Neither will loafers.  Have you ever worn penny loafers?  I remember my first pair.  It was a long time ago.  I was 17 and my parents had sent me on a tour of Canada and the U.S.  Most of the kids on the trip were American — I think there were 3 of us from Montreal.  The first thing we noticed were the loafers on everyone’s feet.  We hadn’t seen them in Canada.  We couldn’t wait for our first stop in the U.S.

Can’t remember for sure where that was — for some reason I’m thinking either Seattle or Portland but, really, in this case geography is of little importance.  What I do remember is arriving at the hotel at about 5 pm, dumping our bags in our rooms and heading for the first shoe store we could find.  Thirty-three of us!  Imagine being a salesman, in a smallish store, close to closing time as 33 hysterical teenage girls come tearing in.  If we’d had iPhones back then we could have taken pictures of the poor guys’ faces.  Bet they would have been priceless!

Bass Weejuns were what we were after; and not having them in our sizes was not an option.  The Canadians all bought 2 pair because we couldn’t get them back home.  I bought one pair in dark brown and another in burgundy; and I loved them!  Wore the burgundy ones out of the store — and every day for the rest of the 5-week trip — as did everyone else.  I did go through about $1 worth of pennies, though — they kept falling out.  I also had blisters like you wouldn’t believe.  They took a lot of breaking in.  But that was part of the appeal.

So my question is, what we going to put in our penny loafers now?

And now that I’m thinking about it, I have a few other questions:  Used to be when you seemed to be staring out into space, lost in thought, whoever you were with would say:  “Penny for your thoughts.”  What’s it going to cost now?  Or, more to the point, how much do you think anyone will pay for your thoughts?  What’s the new going rate going to be?  And while we’re on the subject of money, what are we going to call tightwads ?  I sort of like ‘penny pincher’.

Finding a penny means you’ll have good luck.  I’m superstitious so I always pick them up.  I’ve seen hundreds of pennies on streets, in parking lots, on floors, on roads and lane ways , in offices, movie theatres, super markets, airports, subway stations — you name it.  But do you know something?  I’ve never seen anything else.  Not a nickel, not a dime, not a quarter.  So I guess that means we’re going to be &*%# out of luck.  No pennies.  No luck.  Hmmmm

Like most women of her generation, my mother was a Bing Crosby fan.  She also had a great voice and there was many a day that I’d come home from school and she’d be belting out a selection of her favourite tunes (to the day she died, by the way) — one of which was a little ditty Bing made famous, called Pennies from Heaven.  Just think.  There’s a whole generation of kids, yet to be born, who will never have the slightest idea of what I’m talking about.  Pennies?  What are pennies?  Their world won’t have any.

What’s going to keep our tulips around longer?  Long ago I was told that if you toss a couple of pennies into the vase, along with the water and the tulips, you’ll extend their life.  I can’t tell you if it’s true or not, because I’ve always done it.  Guess I’ll find out soon enough.  If there’s a myth to lay to rest, here, maybe I’ll be the one to do it.  You never know.  I might end up on the pages of Wikipedia!

And here’s a final thought I’ll leave you with.  I’m not what you would call handy.  Somewhere, I have a toolbox (and I use that term very loosely).  And somewhere else I have a few tools.  But it seems that any time I need a screwdriver, I can’t find mine.  And in a pinch, pennies work perfectly for either loosening or tightening some screws.  And I can always find a penny when I need one.

Or at least I could.

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