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by Abigail Van Buren

Granny's Penny Smooths Road for Family Holiday

DEAR ABBY: Finding "pennies from heaven" has always been a pastime in our family, especially since Granny died three summers ago. Spotting shiny pennies in store parking lots and on the field before soccer games makes us realize that Granny is with us in spirit during those games and shopping excursions. The pennies are a comforting reminder that she is close.

A most unusual incident occurred a few days before our last holiday: I was rushing around, feeling unusually overwhelmed about getting the family ready for our big car trip. As the day wore on, I became more and more uptight. I was tired, cranky, and my shoes were suddenly too tight.

As I removed my sandals, I discovered a shiny penny wedged between my sandal strap and the top of my foot! Now really, wouldn't I have felt it there before that? And how in the world did it get there?

Methinks Granny was trying to tell me to slow down -- that everything was going to fall into place and not to let it get to me. In fact, we had a wonderful holiday, and I'm sure dear Granny was at every stop we made. -- S. KLASSEN, PRINCE ALBERT, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA

DEAR S. KLASSEN: Your experience gives new meaning to the phrase "running into money."

DEAR ABBY: I love the penny stories. Here's mine:

Several years ago, while I was having lunch with my mother, an elderly gentleman approached our table and asked me to hold out my hand. With a questioning look, I did as he requested. He placed a shiny new penny in the palm of my hand. I smiled at him and asked why he was giving me this gift. He said that ever since he had returned safely from World War II, he has made it a habit to give every "redhead" he sees a lucky penny!

I still have it wrapped in cellophane in my jewelry box. It's one of my most treasured possessions. -- A REDHEAD IN OREGON

DEAR REDHEAD: What a lovely compliment. That veteran not only had an eye for the ladies, but he was a smooth talker as well. I salute him. (Let's trust it wasn't "G.I. jive.")

DEAR ABBY: I had two daughters, 47 and 45. My older daughter, who was dying of cancer, gave her sister a penny and asked her to keep it to remember her by when she was gone.

One day, I asked my younger daughter to come with me to pick out a car. We went to one place and then to a second one. When we approached the entrance, she found a lucky penny and put it in her wallet. Then I found a penny. Then she began to find more, and so did I. We counted them up. She had six -- I had eight.

We were so excited, we threw the pennies in our purses. We both felt that they were a sign from my deceased daughter telling us to buy the second car because it was a better deal -- which I did.

Now the pennies we collected that day are wrapped in white lace, tied with a purple ribbon and suspended from the rearview mirror of my new car. Every time I look at them, I know my daughter's spirit is with me. Pennies from heaven, indeed. -- SONIA, NORWICH, CONN.

DEAR SONIA: No kidding! Any time customers leave a car dealership with more money than they came in with -- you KNOW the pennies are from heaven.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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