Last Wednesday was my mom's birthday. You might think I went to the cemetery to commemorate the day, but you'd be wrong. I stop by there a couple times a week, and I'd just been there two days before. I knew Mom would understand. After all, I DID give her a shout-out at midnight when her birthday rolled around. Uh huh. I was watching my computer clock like a reveler in Times Square on New Year's Eve watching the ball drop.
I stopped by the cemetery on Friday, on my way to mail the weekly letters to my college boys. Of course I was looking for signs. I've been spoiled by the random ladybugs that are not random at all, but come at a time when I really need some confirmation. And then there are the two songs (Holes in the Floor of Heaven, when we're talking about The Pony, and How Can I Help You Say Goodbye, when it's just me) that always seem to pop up on my car radio when I'm at the cemetery or thinking of Mom or discussing her with Hick.
On Friday, I didn't see any signs. You can't force these things, you know. But I'm ever-vigilant. Just in case. I've only flat-out asked to see a sign ONCE, and it happened within the hour. So I'm never doing that again. It doesn't seem right. It meant the world to me then, and I'm not going to make it into a party trick.
I wished Mom a happy belated birthday, and said of course she knew that I'd given her the shout-out on her actual birthday. I told her about my sister the ex-mayor's wife's cookout on Memorial Day, and what the boys are doing for the summer. Just the usual stuff I would have told her over the phone. Then I went on with my errands, keeping my ear tuned to the radio. Just in case. But there was nothing.
I'd forgotten about looking for signs by the time I left Walmart and headed home. Coming down the last hill before my turn, I saw some probably ne'er-do-wells parked by the creek at our gravel road. They saw ME, and the blue pickup truck started up and pulled out, headed for town. The white car also gunned to life, and followed.
Because they'd been sitting there at the side of the gravel road, facing out, I had stopped on the two-lane blacktop county road, so they'd have room if they decided to leave. I park on the blacktop to get the mail as I come home, but I'm usually closer to the row of mailboxes. I guess these ne'er-do-wells were as unhappy to see me stop there to stare at them as I was to see their not-living-here vehicles parked on our road.
As their engines roared up over the hill behind me, I stepped out of T-Hoe to check my mailbox. Huh. What was THAT? Something shiny at my foot.
Think what you will, but I consider it to be a penny from heaven. A sign that everything's going as it should. Mom heard me, and things are okay.
I would have taken the picture right where it lay, sparkling on that dark blacktop, but I WAS parked in the travel lane of that road with no shoulder. So I picked it up, and took a picture on the back porch when I got home. I don't know any significance for that 2008 date concerning my life or Mom's. Or why old Abe looks like he's been through the ringer. But it's sign for me, by cracky! A random penny on a blacktop road, not in front of the mailbox, but about 20 feet up the road, where I normally would not have seen it.
I added it to the other 4 random pennies and two dimes and one quarter and two one-dollar bills that I've found over the last six months. I haven't seen such a windfall since the months right after my dad died in 1998, when we found dimes all over the house.