Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: A Wallet Full of Memories
By D.A. Urnosky
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We watched the season change from fall to winter during the six hour drive from Virginia to Pennsylvania. The snow crunched under our shoes as we climbed out of the car and made our way to the door. There were snowflakes meandering slowing through the air to lie huddled together on the ground. It truly was a winter wonderland.
I was overwhelmed when I opened the front door and entered to find myself standing in the middle of décor that would have put Mrs. Clause to shame. My mom admitted they may have gone a little overboard, but this being my wife’s first Christmas away from her family, they wanted to make her feel at home. I knew they had for sure, when their small dog came running out of the family room wagging her tail with reindeer antlers attached to her head.
Once I graduated from college and moved away, my parents stopped buying presents for Christmas and sent money instead. Starting out on my own, there was always a use for extra money. Imagine my surprise when we came home from Christmas service, to see my dad reach under the tree and handed my wife and I each a package with a big grin on his face. I had found out later that he went shopping on his own and bought my wife and me a present to go along with the gift of money. My father had never shopped for Christmas presents without my mother. My wife received a pink cardigan sweater and I got a brown wallet.
There was nothing unusual about the wallet. It was made of brown leather in a tri-fold style with the slots for cards and the plastic sheaths for a license and pictures. The last plastic sheath contained a small medallion of St. John Neumann, the first American bishop to be canonized. He said it was for good luck.
When my wife and I left two days later my parents stood on the porch waving, I never thought it would be the last time I saw my father. Less than six months later, he died of a massive coronary at the age of sixty-three.
This will be the thirteenth Christmas without Dad. I still carry the brown wallet even though it is worn, frayed and falling apart. I have a small drawer in my nightstand that houses the many wallets I have received as presents over the last five years and I wonder if I will get another one this year.
My father was right. The good luck I received was in the form of my two beautiful boys. I wish my father would have been here to hold them. Throughout their lives, I have tried to teach them the same values and life lessons my father had taught me.
Each time I open my wallet to hand money to one or the other son, I remember my father and I pass along another story about the man they know but have never met.
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