The penny collector…..a year has passed

Good Morning, Dad….

It’s the one year mark today.  I can’t believe it’s been a year.  And I can’t believe I haven’t written in five months. I have so much to share with you.  But first, let me just tell you how much I miss you.  How not a day goes by that I don’t tell someone about you.  How I STILL pick up the phone to call you.  How much I miss your laugh.  How much I miss hearing about how many reps you did at the gym.  How much I miss having you as my cheerleader.  I miss all of those things.  Every Single Day.

And in the same breath as missing you (mainly because I don’t think I really take a breath without missing you), I think of all the things that have gone on in this past year, and I smile about so much.  Just as you would have wanted.

BUT FIRST, a story about the day after you died……

The day after you died, Danny and I were sorting through some of your things and found ourselves in the basement looking through boxes of paperwork (I’m not sure why you had check registers from 1979, btw,but you did).  As we moved all those boxes, we found more boxes behind them.  Inside of those hidden boxes were pennies.  We all knew you had a large penny collection.  But really, a large penny collection can mean so many things.  As it turns out, your collection was OUTRAGEOUS! You had 600,000 pennies, dad.  SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND. I mean, seriously.  That’s crazy. We knew those pennies couldn’t stick around any longer.  They had to go to the bank. Danny and I joked this was your last word about exercise to us. “Oh, here you go, kids……time to carry 3 TONS of pennies upstairs and to the car.  And then carry them again into the bank. Oh, and while you’re at it, you’ll have to unroll them all, because the bank doesn’t take rolled coins anymore.”  So Danny and I (mostly Danny) carried the pennies upstairs and to the car (we took four separate trips to many banks).  We didn’t realize the fact we had to unroll the pennies until we got to the bank.  So we stood at the change machine and set up shop.  We broke open the pennies into big containers and then dumped them into the machine.  Over and over and over again.  Until we broke the machine.  And then we went to a different bank.  Until we broke that machine.  And then we ended up at a bank in Alabama.  Where we broke that machine.  And then back to the original bank, because they fixed their machine.  And then we broke that one.  It was insane.  But all the while, YOU continued to connect with people.  Everyone was curious about our penny collection.  And so we told them about you.  And they walked away with the biggest smile on their faces.  And I gave little collections to kids that came in the bank.  When we broke the change machine at your home bank for the last time, I gave your favorite banker one of your lucky pennies to remember you by.  She loved you.  And me giving her that penny will come back around to more recent days (that’s foreshadowing, which Danny says I’m not very good at).  But really, the story of the penny I gave to the teller will become a story later in this letter to you.  Before I get to all that, let me just say that depositing 6K in pennies is a wild journey.  One of the best parts is that the change machine spit out the wheat back pennies, and those were always your favorites.  And mine, too.  So we’ve been able to share those wheat backs with your friends and family.  I even got a tattoo of one.  In your memory.  Every time I pick up my guitar to play, that penny is looking right at me, and I love it.  You’re with me.  Always.

one cent
photo by Neilson Hubbard

Okay, back to present day……We’re having a baby

We’re pregnant, dad!  26 weeks and 1 day to be exact.  I want to tell you the story of all the fertility stuff in a letter one day, but it’s so long and involved, I can’t get into now.  I can’t believe this kid doesn’t get to meet you.  I can’t believe you don’t get to meet this kid.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that for months now.  There’s no wrapping my head around it though.  You’re going to be an amazing story to this child.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of all the medicine I took to have this baby.  OMG.

IMG_5697B&W
Here’s all the medicine we injected into my little body to have this baby!

On making a new record….

I had anxiety about the one year anniversary of your dying.  I didn’t know what that day would look like.  So I decided to record a new album, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the recording process today.  I feel so close to you.  It’s a pretty confessional record.  In the vain of this blog, actually.  (you inspired me to do that, by the way).  I’ve never been so excited about a project.  You know why?  Because I have a producer that is rocking my world.  And I have musicians I’m meeting for the first time that are totally getting what this project means to me, and they’re playing their asses off.  And, most importantly, I have you with me.  Literally.  I have a little altar set up with your ashes and photos and a candle.  And I have this tattoo.  And the songs.  It’s not a hit record, by all means.  It’s beautiful though.  Raw.  I can’t wait to share it with you.  It’s for you, dad.  It’s for the rest of the world, too.  Because I think the rest of the world can connect with these songs in some way.  Thank you for inspiring me, dad. You’ve made me a more connected and thoughtful musician.

And isn’t it cool the way the life cycle is working?  I’m here making this new thing with a baby in the belly and you’re in this jar next to my work station.  The cycle of life.  It really is beautiful.

And so today I’m going to record with the amazing band I’m working with.  I’m probably going to laugh a lot.  And cry a bunch, too.

And back to the penny I gave your favorite banker……

Once your taxes and all that fun stuff were completed, it was time to distribute the money from your bank accounts as the final thing on your “to do” list.  So I wrote the checks from the account and distributed them to the family.  Although it wasn’t all that much money, it was still significant.  So I wrote the checks and everything was fine until I received notice of bouncing one of the checks.  I was STRESSED, because I had worked so hard to do everything correctly.  Lo and behold, the statement said we were one cent short in your account.  ONCE CENT.  ONE PENNY.  I laughed so hard.  So I called the bank and spoke with your favorite teller.  She remembered me giving her a lucky penny and immediately deposited it into your account.  And so it goes.  You continue to be helpful and make people laugh.

900px-Collect-Wheat-Pennies-Step-1

Okay, it’s time to get to work in the studio.  Dad, I love you and miss you.  I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I feel you with me now more than ever. I cannot thank you enough for being the brightest shining star….

I love you.

c.

Here’s some of the photos from your final days that still help me heal from all of this……

 

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6 thoughts on “The penny collector…..a year has passed

  1. Lovely story, Carrie. Thinking of you today. Two years for me and missing him more each day – but, oh the stories people share – treasure still to be dug up…like your pennies.

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  2. Man, we miss seeing you, Carrie. We hope all is going well with your pregnancy. The idea of a new album is really exciting. We’ll await both the announcements of the birth of the baby and of your new record when summer is over. We can’t wait to have Danny at Geezerstock 2016 in July. We are so stoked about that event. We only wish you could be there too.
    Just curious …. the cliche “a penny for your thoughts” probably never meant much to you as you grew up, huh? Hi to Danny!

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  3. Carrie –

    My name is Sarah, my sister is Erin Cloke and I am also friends with Amy Murphy. I have been following you through your journey. We played Company of Friends at our mother’s (who also died of pancreatic cancer) memorial. So needless to say I feel a connection with you even though we have not met. I’m so sorry you lost your dad, and you have to be a member of the dead dad club (I am also a member of of that club too) and he isn’t here to celebrate the totally exciting new walk of pregnancy and motherhood you are embarking on. I just wanted to say hi and tell you I am so thrilled for you. Congratulations! I had tears of joy reading your news, and I LOVED your penny story. Thanks you for writing about your journey.

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  4. Carrie, your messages are so honest and touching. The pennies?? Priceless. 😊 May God continue to bless you and Danny as you continue this journey called life. Can’t wait to see photos of your little bundle of joy when he or she arrives. Also looking forward to the new album!!! Hugs!!

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  5. My father passed before knowing his granddaughter. But I truly believe he picked her out for me because he knew what kind of love and challenge I needed as a mother. Dwell in the sweet memories. Thank you for your story.

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