Friday, March 17, 2006


I went with my father to Shop-Rite liquor store on New Hampshire Ave in Langley Park, MD. While perusing the aisles and shelves of spirits (hooch), I spied (saw on the ground) an errant wallet on the ground that some unsuspecting patron had absentmindedly left behind. In my youthful glee, I screamed out,


Dad, being the quick-minded thinker that he was, quickly bottled up my excitement as not to alert some other passerby to the treasure laying not 10 feet away. We quickly, but nonchalantly sauntered in that direction, looking this way and that, and dad instructed me to scoop it up. Ingenious maneuver as constables are reluctant to fingerprint a child. In my eagerness to, ah, find out the rightful owner and return the wallet :), I commenced to yanking that joint open, but Dad, knowing the ways of the lawless, quickly tucked it away for viewing at a more opportune time and place. All the way home, I couldn't take my mind off of the massive amount of loot that had to be in the wallet. I mean, why have a wallet if it's not full of cash? When we got home, my eyes were glued on Dad in anticipation of him opening the wallet and uncovering our newfound treasure. To my confusion, Dad sent me off to play. "Aah, playing it cool in case we were followed!", I thought. I went off to play in the back yard. A short while later, Dad called me in the house and handed me a wad of three dollar bills. I assumed it was the money from the wallet, snatched it out of his hand and awaited the arrival of the urban kids' best friend, ICE CREAM MAN! I was going to blow the whole wad on Bomb Pops, Push-Ups, Nowlatas (Now-&-Laters), Rock Creek Fruit punch soda and whatever else I could get. I was a happy kid that day.

One day, long after Dad has passed on and I was a dad myself, my thoughts returned to that wallet and questions started to plague me. Why didn't Dad want to open the wallet right away? Why didn't he say something like, "here's the money from the wallet"?

Though my opportunity to ask Dad about it while he was still with us is long gone, I began to piece together my theory based on my recollections of the events of that day and Dad's character and love for me.

He didn't want to open the wallet in front of me because he knew I'd be disappointed if there was nothing inside. Therefore, he sent me away so he could look in private. There was probably no money in the wallet to begin with, but wanting to spare me that disappointment, Dad reached into his own pocket and pulled out an amount that, by my young standards then, was substantial. $3!!! He didn't say, "here's the money from the wallet" because that would've been a blatant lie <-- a terrible thing to teach your kid! All in all, Dad did what any loving parent, such as he was, would do and I love him and respect him even more for doing it!

Being the Christian that I am, I would take a found wallet to the store manager or something, but when a similar opportunity such as this arises where I can do the same for my kids, I'll surely take it! Rest assured that, when I've been called home to be with the Lord (oh happy day!) and I am reunited with my earthly father, I'll ask him all about it.