Have you ever placed a penny on a railroad track? Me either. On a warm summer day I was the passenger on my cousin’s Candy Ruby Red Honda CT-70 as we picked our way through the dense woods behind his house. We came upon the CSXT railroad at the point where it crossed under State Route 30 running north out of Savannah, Georgia towards the border with South Carolina. From what I remember we were just out exploring with no destination in mind except adventure.
We decided we wanted to put a penny on the track so a passing train could smash it. We didn’t have a penny but, for some unexplained reason, my cousin had a nickel in his pocket. He placed the nickel on the track and, sitting under Highway 30, we waited for a train to pass. Whether by design or luck - I suspect the latter - we didn’t have to wait long. A northbound train roared by and we sat on the sloped concrete and waved a friendly, innocent wave to the engineer as the train passed. It was a long train and it took a few minutes until the last of the cars passed us.
We ran down to the tracks to retrieve the nickel. It was gone. We looked everywhere except its new location, so we never found it. Our guess was maybe a nickel was too thick or too hard to be smashed by a train so instead it had been ejected. If this was the case, we were lucky we weren’t killed by the third President of the United States and his Monticello estate as they achieved escape velocity from the Earth’s atmosphere.
A nickel from that era was made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. We never saw that nickel again so we have no token, no souvenir from that day. Instead we have two boyhood memories stored in the minds of two middle-aged men, a return on our investment that’s 100% gold.