I found your wallet today, the one you were always misplacing whether you were at home on Brentwood Drive, Milan, or at Morning Pointe, your last residence, there in Chattanooga with my sister Valerie not too far away. Guess I’d misplaced it this time, forgetting that I had tucked it away in my L.L. Bean Boat Bag, the repository of all my treasured “Must Keeps.”
Holding your wallet feels like holding your hands, wrinkled and worn but amazingly soft and tender, despite the decades of hard work. Those hands skillfully filed saws for our livelihood, built beautiful cherry wood tables for our delight, sewed sequins on Val’s majorette uniforms, pushed lawn mowers, pushed us high in our swings, pushed us off on our first bike rides, pushed us off into the arms of our husbands-to-be, pulled us close when we needed a h
“Hold our hands, Daddy.” That’s what we whispered two years ago as you lay in your hospice bed. Hold on tight! But you couldn’t. Your fingers, interlaced with ours, slowly loosened their grip. Your fingernails scraped across the crisp white sheets before you jerked your hands high into the air, seemingly surprised that it was time to go.
But I found you again. Your driver’s license photo looked up at me from your brown trifold. Tucked inside were six $1.00 bills, ready for you to spend on strawberry pie and coffee at Perkins. For an instant, you were with me. The touch of the wallet quickened my soul with your essence, making my heart smile.
You knew I was sad, didn’t you Daddy? Once again your hands were there to comfort me and pull me close when I needed love.