Finding Lucky Coins

It was a warm summer afternoon in sleepy little Rockaway Beach on Oregon’s middle coast. Doctor D and his 8-year old son Kevin were heading back from the dunes to the small 3-room family cabin near the foot of the Coastal Range.

The humble cabin, hand-built by Grandpa and others before World War II, had bunk beds, a wood stove, a sink, a refrigerator, and an indoor bathroom. In other words, it was beautiful. It was at the beach!

Doctor D and his son were staying at the cabin for the few last days before Kevin would leave for Canada to live with his mother and his new stepdad.

Doctor D and Kevin were both disappointed that day as they walked slowly back from the ocean, but neither showed it. They had not found the sunken treasure on the beach that they had joked about. ‘Course, they hadn’t really expected to find old coins, or lost rings, or anything. They just hoped to.

Doctor D wondered how often he would see his young son again, once Kevin moved to Canada. Up to now, they had spent many, many days together, since Doctor D and Kevin’s mother had divorced when Kevin was two years old.

Shaking a head just starting to show hints of silver in his dark hair, worn a bit long, Doctor D came back to the present.

“Hey,” he said to Kevin. “Let’s look for lost coins on the way back to the cabin. You never know!”

“Ok,” Kevin said, his brown eyes glancing at the overgrown marsh weeds and gravel by the sagging sand-scoured shoe store. Long abandoned, the shingled store was their signpost to turn off Highway 101 to head east for the cabin.

Only two minutes later, Doctor D saw a nickel shining on the ground, about a foot off the side road. He wanted it to be the treasure they hadn’t found yet, so he looked the other way.

“Hey Dad, look!” Kevin yelled triumphantly a moment later, picking up the coin.

“Well, what do you know,” Doctor D said, sounding surprised. “You found treasure!”

Grinning, Doctor D looked at the coin that Kevin handed him. Shiny, bright with promise like the glittering ocean behind them, the coin was obviously new.

Blinking in surprise, Doctor D looked closer at the date on the nickel. 1978. The year that Kevin was born. But that was impossible. That was eight years ago. The nickel should be beat to pieces, or at least scratched up, not bright as if minted yesterday.

Smiling to himself, Doctor D knew then that it was going to be alright. He and Kevin would not be lost to each other after all.

“Kevin, let me keep this until we get back to Portland,” Doctor D said. “I promise to keep it safe.” Doctor D knew that this was a very special coin indeed.

“Um. OK,” Kevin muttered, a little puzzled but reluctantly agreeing. Shrugging shoulders that would later frame a 6’ 2”, 220 lb. stature, he started chattering about what they could do for the rest of the day.

Later, after Kevin had moved to Canada, Doctor D had the nickel set in a simple sterling silver necklace. He had the circlet around the nickel marked with a secret symbol to identify it as different from all other nickels. Then he mailed it to Kevin.

A few years later, Lucky Penny learned that Doctor D had gone back to that same Oregon coast on a brief trip with his new wife. This time Doctor D went south from Rockaway to the popular Devil’s Punch Bowl, where the waves crash high and the cliff has been hollowed out by the constant smashing of boiling surf.

There, at low tide in the large echoing roofless cave carved out of the cliff, Doctor D was stunned to find his own lucky coin, partly buried in damp sand under a grey wave-polished rock. This coin wasn’t a nickel though — it was a penny!

But the penny certainly wasn’t shiny. It had turned green from living in the ocean so long. Saving it from further tossing in the surf, Doctor D retrieved his lucky penny. Putting it in his pocket, he still has it to this day.

He has had many lucky days following those magical finds at the beach. And so has Kevin. Best of all, they have also enjoyed many days together in the years since.

Thinking about all this, Lucky Penny knew it was time to start telling his lucky coin stories to Doctor D. If anyone would believe, Lucky Penny realized, it would be Doctor D.

Lucky Penny knew that lucky coins could be found anywhere, anytime, by anyone!

“Lucky Penny and the Little Dark” is the first story that Lucky Penny told Doctor D.