5p

I found a five pence coin in the road on my way to the station the other morning.

“5p!” I exclaimed, with almost as much excitement as if it were five pounds.

Over the past few weeks, at least once a week, I have found penny coins on the road. And I almost always stop to pick them up. So finding 5p was five times as good.

It’s like I’m six years old still, and those coins can be converted into lollies (sweets, candies) at the corner store, at a rate of one coin per one sweet.

I remember the store was dark and narrow, and it was run by Bill and Meg. It sold some grocery basics (bread, milk, newspapers; things only adults care about) but the attraction to me and my friends was the wall of lolly jars. My friends and I would go in with our fistful of coins and spend many a long minute choosing our ten lollies for ten cents.

“I’ll have one of those, one of those, two of those…” And Bill or Meg would have to fetch up the jar of lollies, open it, remove one sweet, replace the jar, open another jar… And then when the first child was done, the second child would step up and the same process would repeat.

For as little as 10c we could spend a long time in that shop, deciding which ten sweets we would have.

Bill and Meg must have hated us.

I wonder about the people who dropped these coins I’m finding. They probably don’t have the same memories about the small coins as I do because one penny doesn’t get you anything these days.

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