>The Old Wallet

>There’s no need.

No need to worry.

No need to cry.

No need to dwell on it.

He’s dead and that’s not gonna change.

I’ve always hated going to funerals. Who doesn’t, right? My sentiment about the whole thing: you can make me go but you can’t make me enjoy it. It’s suppose to be funny… but no one ever laughs. I guess I have a weird sense of humor.

But seriously, what 10 year old wants to waste his day at a funeral? I know we should honor the dead and their family, but how can you do that with the guy sitting right there. There is a dead guy in the room in a box and everyone is standing around talking, in a tone just a little higher than a whisper. We all follow the body to the graveyard and then afterwards: Lunch. It’s just strange.

This past weekend we had to go to my great-grandpa’s funeral. Apparently my siblings and I are “lucky to have known my great-grandparents.” But not that lucky. The preacher talked about fishing, model airplanes, and two dollar bills. I had a dream the night before that I found a two-dollar bill in my wallet. It was strange that day, he had a two dollar bill under his hands in the casket. Everyone talked about how he handed them out all the time. My older brother had one in his wallet that day.

Everyone also talked about the times they went fishing with great-grandpa. They would go out on the lake and catch a big old fish, and then eat that same fish for dinner. They talked about all the fun times they had out on that lake. All the things they talked about and all the lessons they learned.

People talked about his store, which he closed on my day of birth. They talked about all the things they learned and the lessons, too. It seems that everyone had helped him out at the store at one time or another. Even my brother, who’s six years older than me, helped him on the day he closed (because mom and dad were in the hospital having me). People also talked about the freebies they would get from my great-grandpa when they had hit hard times. He was apparently a very gracious man.

My dad and his siblings talked about the time they spent building model airplanes. I didn’t know it but my great-grandpa was a certified pilot years ago. I didn’t know a lot of things…

I didn’t know he use to volunteer at the firehouse. I didn’t know he hired the mayor at his shop years ago. I didn’t know he was full Italian; he sang in the church choir; he used to play the piano and the guitar; he use to run two grocery stores before selling one; he use to take over for the mail man if he was sick… I barely knew my great-grandpa at all! And here are all these people who say it’s fantastic that we got to know our great-grandpa.

I want to go fishing. I want to hear the stories of flying in a sudden storm. I want to build some model planes. I want to learn and have fun with my great-grandpa…but now I can’t. He’s gone and that’s not about to change.

All I have left now is this really old wallet that use to belong to him. Grandma says he told her to give it to me and I couldn’t look inside until I got to my room at home. Well, let’s see what’s in it shall we?

. . . . . .

It’s a two dollar bill!?… and an old pilots license-OW!… and a small fishing hook, that’s still sharp. I guess I do have more than just some old wallet. Even though I never got to live out any of the memories of my relatives, I was entrusted with the actual memories themselves.


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