Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pennies From Heaven

I went to a funeral yesterday for the husband of a woman I don't know well enough, but probably should. Her name is Marcia Herson. I met her about a year ago in conjunction with a show at my gallery.

I was drawn to her personality as much as her beautiful glass beads. Over the course of a few months of working on some projects together we got to know each other better. She taught herself jewelry making but her life was consumed with taking care of her elderly husband, who was nearly 20 years her senior. She talked, I listened. I could tell she loved him very deeply.

I shared with her that I had been widowed and that I understood her fear for her future. I think sometimes older people fail to understand that someone younger might have an experience to share that they have not yet gone through. It was an instant connect for us- the terrible sisterhood of being a widow.

The funeral was held at her Temple. I don't think I have ever been to a Temple. The casualness of the Rabbi and people felt different, but many of the trappings and readings felt very familiar. There was a lot of laughter while remembering Shelley Herson. Marcia stood to eulogize her husband in a show of bravery I never could have summoned. She told the stories of his handing out lucky pennies to friends, family and strangers. He would get addresses of customer service people at Comcast & PSNH to send them four leaf clovers from his yard. At the end of the service Marcia handed out two pennies to everyone and told them to "keep one for yourself and pass the other to someone else." I opted to give my second penny to my good friend, Louise, who turned 50 yesterday.

Today, while walking to to my car, I spotted several pennies in the snow by a parking meter. I walked past, but had to turn back to pick them up. I even had to kick a few which had become frozen into the snow. They seemed too highly symbolic to leave behind. I thought of Marcia & Shelley's magical marriage. Shoving them into my pocket as I continued on I had to smile and thought "I feel lucky." In light of the economy's effect on my business, I wondered where this optimism came from. I came to the quick conclusion that if you feel lucky- you are lucky.


JAF said...

You were inspired! And your post was inspirational to me. My mom always said "You're as happy as you make your mind up to be"...it was Abraham Lincoln? And the penny analogy is provoking -- I remember counting 85 cents on the floor of an airport taxi bus and thinking, "Everyone wants more money but no one thinks that's worth picking up..." At that time, I was just thinking of Americans; it didn't occur to me to wonder if we do that with our relationships?...but for some reason when I read this I thought of it immediately. What is that saying, "mind your pennies, the dollars take care of themselves."

SMC said...

Hmmmm.... now that is thought provoking. Relationships are like change on the ground? I heard a story on NPR on some families who made a point of picking up all abandoned coins on the ground and they mentioned how much it added up to be- Wow! Does this mean we should be more impressed with the relationships we have?

JAF said...

I think if we didn't treat the little things in our relationships/life like we treat "spare change" we might realize we have a lot more than we think.