Pennies on a Railroad Track

by Larry Hehn on September 5, 2012

penny on a railroad trackMy friend and co-worker Mike had never heard of putting pennies on a railroad track before.

When I was a kid, my Dad told me of an old friend who worked at a railroad yard, and how he sometimes placed a penny on the track as a train pulled out, just to see it get flattened.

I was intrigued, but lived in the city. There were no train tracks nearby, no ready means for a young lad to boldly squish some copper.

So my dream lay dormant…for a while.

Some years later, but still a youngster, we visited family friends at a farm house with a railroad track intersecting the long dirt driveway.

At last!

I don’t think it took much convincing for my Dad to drop a few pennies on the track with me and wait for a train to rumble past.

Mind you, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It was past dusk, and we were nowhere near a station. It was a long time before a train came along.

The passenger train whistled by at over 60 miles per hour, scattering the pennies through the dark across an endless trail of wood, steel and gravel.

With a flashlight and some dogged determination, we managed to salvage three former one cent pieces, now oblong, roughly half as thick and with twice the surface area.

So cool!

I held on to those pennies for years.

Today, an old set of railroad tracks runs through my company’s yard. Once every few weeks, an engine drops a couple of cars at a business up the street. A nice, slow-moving train on a track that is just steps from my office…

Who could resist?

Mike and I pooled resources. Today we have eight pennies resting on the track. Four on the left side, four on the right. They’ve been there for a week now.


And waiting.

We check them every day in anticipation that today might be the day that the train comes by. Brushing off the dirt so we get a good clean “squish”. Replacing them when the wind and rain wash them off the track. Listening for that unmistakable long, low rumble…

There’s nothing we can do to bring that train past here any sooner than scheduled, but we can make sure that we’re ready for whenever it may appear.

‘Cause if we waited until we heard the train to drop the pennies, we wouldn’t get there in time.

Some things are worth working, watching, and waiting for.

Like a penny on a railroad track.

What are you working, watching and waiting for?

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.- 2 Thessalonians 3:5

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

tcavey September 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Endurance is key to any great adventure and life with Christ is an adventure. He doesn’t send us or errands, He sends us on a great journey!

Love the penny analogy. Especially since trains don’t come by as often as they used to…at least they don’t in my area.
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Larry Hehn September 7, 2012 at 7:33 am

Thank you, TC. Yes, the trains don’t run nearly as often as I remember. I’m hoping one comes by soon!


Jon Stolpe September 6, 2012 at 5:19 am

Good things come to those who wait! (Not going anywhere for a while? Grab a Snickers.) Great post today, Larry.
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Larry Hehn September 7, 2012 at 7:34 am

Mmm…Snickers… 🙂
Glad to have you here, Jon!


ThatGuyKC September 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You have a gift for storytelling, Larry.

Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting to win the lottery so I can chase a ton of great ideas all at once. I need to focus and start some writing projects I’ve been postponing for awhile.
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Larry Hehn September 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thank you, KC. I hear you with the writing projects. I’ve been “working” on my second book for 9 years. I’ll be praying for focus for you. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


Juan Cruz Jr September 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Larry, awesome story. And also so cool. I am waiting for the Lord to do awesome things through me. I am waiting on confirmation to take a family missions trip next year. I know that the Lord will provide resources and support if it’s in his plans for me and my family.
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Larry Hehn September 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Sounds exciting, Juan. Yep, lots and lots of prayer. All the best!


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