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OPINION: Penny for your thoughts

Abilene Reflector-Chronicle, Kan. — Tim Horan Abilene Reflector-Chronicle, Kan.

Feb. 13-- Feb. 13--To this day I still pick up pennies.

At one time, it was a sign of good luck.

"See a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck," said Jan in the movie "Grease."

That was right before Marty tries to hand it to Kenickie who gets knocked in the head when Putzie opens the door to Greased Lightning.

I suppose having Danny drive the car to win the race would be considered good luck.

Andrew Yang, former candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president and my grandson Hayden's first choice in his first presidential election, wants to eliminate the penny.

Yang says "They're expensive. It costs more to make a penny than it's worth, costing taxpayers about $70 million a year.

"And most of the zinc that goes into them comes from China, adding over $2 million to the trade deficit."

"Alexa! How many pennies are made each year?"

"13 billion."

That's 1,040 every second.

So, find a penny, pick it up, and we wouldn't need to mint as many.

Benjamin Franklin suggested the design of the first penny authorized by the Mint Act of 1792.

Some of us remember penny candy!

Zeys, when there was a second store at Spruce and First, sold some candy for three cents which was exactly what you could get for trading in an empty pop bottle.

Today it takes only 50 pennies to buy this newspaper but sorry, our newspaper stands don't take pennies. However, if you come into the office we'll still accept pennies.

It would take only 200 pennies to buy a Powerball ticket which, at odds of 1 in 292,201,338, could turn into $70 million.

When I was old enough to learn that money was minted in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, I started collecting pennies.

My dad John brought home Whitman Coin Folders which my friend Google says you can still purchase.

Dad would bring home rolls of pennies from the bank and I'd look through them and fill in the slots in the books.

For Christmas one year, my dad gave my wife Kathy a small barrel that Pat Little had painted a chicken on and labeled it "chicken feed." For years, I put most of my change in the barrel every evening when I emptied my pockets.

When my daughter Robin was old enough to know the difference between Philadelphia and San Francisco, she started looking through those pennies in that barrel. Our son Ryan also grabbed the magnifying glass to look at dates and mints.

Grandson Hayden, that member of the Yang Gang, often rummaged through old pennies, looking for ones we didn't have in the collection.

I do have one penny that is worth more than most baseball cards.

Otherwise, I don't think anyone will be fighting over the family penny collection folders.

However, to me, the collection of coins is priceless just because of the memories of spending time with kids and grandkids looking at dates and mints.

I still have a couple bags of unsorted pennies. Maybe tonight I'll get out that collection and start filling in the gaps in the folders. Who knows? If Yang gets his way, pennies may be worth a lot more in a few years.

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