Pennies from Heaven

Dad at his Desk 1978

Dad at his Desk

Pennies from Heaven

Once a month my bank alerts me by email that my dad’s checking account statement is ready for review. Dad died three years ago and he always balanced his bank statement – until he got too sick to do it. Then I took over his finances and we added my name to his accounts.

At first I left this account open because Medicare was months behind in their billing. After the first year went by and then the second, I realized I just liked being reminded of Dad. There isn’t that much money in this account, there are never any deposits or withdrawals, only an addition of a few cents of interest each month. But in this one-page statement I see my Dad sitting at his desk, pulling out his check register and calculator, and intensely studying the statement to make sure every penny is accounted for.

Dad’s checking statement reflected the way he lived his life – he made deposits into the lives of those he loved and only made withdrawals when necessary, asking for help sparingly – and he didn’t need much money to make him happy. He enjoyed the simple things in life: the Sinatra Station on XM radio, a sunny day free from arthritic pain, or a view of a garden in full bloom.

Maybe I should play “Ol’ Blues Eyes” singing Pennies from Heaven while I balance Dad’s statement this month:

“Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you must have showers
So when you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree
There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me.”*

I know I should close this account and move on; I’m certainly not going to make much money on the three cents of interest each month. But I’m just not ready to cash in one of the last reminders that Dad is still with me, sending me a monthly package of sunshine and flowers and a few pennies from heaven.

*Pennies From Heaven Writer(s): Johnny Burke, Arthur Johnston; Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC