Sifting through yet another box of “junk” from storage today, I stumbled upon a lost treasure. A number of years ago, I visited Iraq and presented teaching strategies in a workshop for Kurdish university professors. Our trip was so short that the only shopping I did was for camera batteries. My counterpart from the English department at the University of Dohuk, however, exchanged a 1 dirham coin for a U.S. silver dollar that I had with me. While I’ve held on to a 250 Dinar bill with Saddam’s picture on it for all these years, I haven’t seen the coin since 2004. I was convinced it was lost during a move.
Today I found a pen that was given to me as a token of appreciation at the workshop. My coin was nestled in the bottom of the giftbox. A moment of real joy swept over me when the coin dropped into my hand. It almost gives me hope that my grandfather’s trick coin is not truly lost. Incidentally, I discovered another “tiniest penny” in a jewelry box last week. Two of those (when in my memory only one existed), but still no trick penny. How is it my moments of joy at finding are so quickly shadowed by loss and absence?