Friday, September 30, 2016

Pennies From Heaven (Or, in this case, New Fairfield)

Today's post is not going to be funny…or smart-assy…or nostalgic. This column is simply going to say thank you to a town full of friends and acquaintances and, in particular, a whole bunch of people I’ve never met. And it involves pennies…a lowly currency that has systematically been demoted by the government, dissed by the banks and relegated to little dishes next to the register in places of business.

I’ve always liked pennies.

Honest Abe has always been my favorite president and when I was first allowed to go the corner candy store for a treat, a Hershey Bar cost six cents. I’d usually slide six of my own pennies across the counter and feel like a vital part of the economy after the purchase. But, now, pennies are even more special to me.

Recently, during a disappointing visit to my local bank, I was told they could do nothing for me in my quest for the 2016 pennies I needed for the favor for Charlie’s wedding (Yes! My baby is getting married for those I haven’t yet buttonholed in Stop ‘n’ Chat and regaled with every possible detail).

I wanted 2016 pennies specifically because Charles and his lovely bride-to-be are getting hitched this year and I am hopelessly into “cute” right now: “Wouldn’t it be cute?” I thought. “Yes, it certainly would,” I answered myself, wondering how in the name of Pinterest, I might procure such a large number of 2016 pennies without the help of the US Mint?

Well, New Fairfield, as you always do – in big times and small -- you came through. Via Facebook and a page dedicated to all things local I have visited many times for advice, suggestions and the name of a good plumber (and other contractors), I put a request out into the universe and, New Fairfield, you answered with a veritable roar of enthusiasm and good nature. In other words, in a typical response for you.

I have seen you rally around the bereaved, displaced and ailing. I have seen you raise money and  awareness for those in need, fill their fridges, rebuild their homes, actively seek lost pets and hail hometown heroes. I’ve seen you go out of your way to help, console and comfort and now I’ve seen you get involved with a small, happy little project that will neither change the world nor affect the lives of its citizens but made my life easier.

Your actions and willingness to lend a hand to a wacky small town columnist in pursuit of “cuteness” made my life, and by extension, the lives of my family better…and is it not true that if you change one life, you change the entire world?! Didn’t Maimonides, Gandhi or Martha Stewart say something like that?

For a solid week after going public, I received a steady flow of pennies in my mailbox…in paper bags and zip-locs, in plastic containers with tight lids and envelopes of every color. Most had notes of congratulation on the upcoming nuptials and expressions of happiness for my family. In addition, I also visited many mailboxes on several “penny-runs” to retrieve more of the same in the manner a bee collects pollen in any of the lovely gardens I passed along my way.

George Bailey had nothing on me because I was the star of my own “It’s a Wonderful Life” here in New Fairfield, Connecticut with all of you saving me again and again, not only helping with wedding favors but reminding me how great people are one bag of pennies at a time. As each penny clinked its way into my bowl, I have no doubt somewhere an angel got a new set of wings…over 300 times.

So, in essence, you did change the world for the better, New Fairfield. There is no such thing as a small favor…all favors are big and that, my friends, is a reflection of my immense gratitude and appreciation of you and this town and all that your goodness represents.

My family thanks you for the bright, shiny 2016 pennies I received. The favors are assembled and, after the wedding, I will share photos of them. Please be assured that without your generous spirit, I would be nothing more than a little smear of protoplasm on the carpet. So rock on, New Fairfield, Susan Says is a big fan of yours. XOXOXO

                                                                    Have a listen....

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