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'PENNY BURFORD' Lessons of a woman are no small change



Published: Sun, August 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A single discarded nickel changes the course of a young woman's life and the lives of others.

By MARGARET NERY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

"Small Change, The Secret Life of Penny Burford," by J Belinda Yandell (Cumberland House Publishing Inc.), $14.95.

From Nashville, Tenn., where she makes her home, J. Belinda Yandell reaches out to touch the minds and hearts of couples everywhere with her sensitively moving little book, "Small Change, The Secret Life of Penny Burford."

In its 139 pages, the book has a lot of heart and a big message as it provides an insightful look into the life of an impressionable young girl.

As she exposes "The Secret Life of Penny Burford," Yandell seems to challenge readers to take a second look at relationships and to learn to really see and appreciate those who are an integral part of their lives before it is too late.

The story focuses on Penny, the daughter of a minister, who is taught early in life that material possessions mean little unless she puts them to good use.

Ultimately she is married to the son of the town drunkard. And though she is an attentive, caring wife and mother, she is merely taken for granted.

New husband

Her husband, Roy, a hard worker, provides his family with the necessities, but he seems obsessed with the need to erase memories of his destitute childhood by flauting his possessions.

He makes a big show of the material things he has accumulated, but he surprisingly discards small change indiscriminately around the house as if pennies and nickels are absolutely worthless.

Starting with the first nickel she picks up and secrets away as her own, Penney begins to change her life through the discarded coins. It is only after Penney's death that Roy comes to really know his wife of 34 years. He doesn't care about the money she has mysteriously accumulated, but he is unable to comprehend where it came from and what she was doing with it.

The funeral

At her funeral Roy listens to others and comes to realize that, far from being an ordinary person, Penny was warm and caring and did so much for others.

It is apparent that in addition to the money she has saved, invested and used wisely, she has left a legacy of love and compassion.

Forced to take a long, hard look at himself as a husband and as a man, Roy finally learns what Penney always knew, "that money in and of itself isn't that important, it's what you do with it the counts.""Small Change -- The Secret Life of Penny Burford" provides a touching, bittersweet lesson that can enrich the lives and relationships of all who read this engrossing little book.




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