A man's wallet

This is the first 'mess' of green beans and the only onion from our little garden. All my life, I heard people say, "pick us a 'mess' of...", or "y'all come for supper 'cause we're cooking a 'mess' of...". I always wondered what a 'mess' was. How much. What quantity. Because the way my Grandmother cooked, it was a half a hand full of something to a 'mess' of something else. So, I asked my Grandmother one day. And, she said a 'mess' is always "just enough for supper". So, a mess is just enough. As is evidenced by my fabric stash, my sewing room, my closet, and pantry.

But, I digress. What's really on my mind today is the shooting pain down my left leg, from hip to ankle. Clearly, in the case of my wallet, a 'mess' is not "just enough". It's too much.
Rob accidentally washed my wallet a couple weeks ago. He found it before it went into the dryer. He carefully emptied it and propped it open and let it dry. But, despite being saved from the dryer, my wallet clearly shrunk. Now, it's thicker and I'm going to have to empty it. I don't know how my Dad did it.

My Dad's wallet was more of a filing cabinet. If my Mom asked for a receipt, or a blank check, cash, a credit card, the car registration, or proof of insurance, his hunting license, or the paperwork from the last set of tires they bought, the business card for the pest control guy, the measurements for the new kitchen countertops, or any of a hundred other things, out came the wallet and from it would be produced a pristinely folded and pressed small square of paper, which when unfolded would reveal itself to be the requested document. It was amazing. And, I'm convinced just a little magical.

As I remember it, that wallet was over an inch thick. I don't know how he sat down on it. But, he did. His wallet went everywhere. It went to the lake, to church, and it was there when we did yard work. He could sit on it all day in an uncomfortable plastic boat seat. It was, and as far as I know still is his constant companion.
I know that wallets came and went over the years, but I will always think of him carrying a very soft, black leather wallet, stretched beyond all hope of a shape, and holding everything that he needed for any situation.

And, again, I find myself trying to imitate him and have everything I need within my reach anytime I need it. And that's how I ended up with a pain from my hip to my ankle. Sometimes a wallet, no matter how much of a mess, just isn't enough. It would be so much easier if men could carry a purse. We're stuck with messenger bags and backpacks. But, messenger bags and backpacks don't fit in lock-able office drawers like purses do. I don't know what I'll do with the excess junk. Maybe I need to carry a filing cabinet? Would it look funnier to carry a filing cabinet on my back or a purse under my arm? Which would be most likely to draw unwelcome attention?

Take care and have a great Way Back Wednesday.



Auntie Em said...

Great post, Lane. Don't be too jealous of the purse carrying set, we often get back pains from overloading the ole' pocketbook. After years of lopsided back pain, I've learned to travel light.

How about if you carried the wallet in a backpack and then just locked up the wallet?

lw said...

My husband does the same thing-- his wallet is an inch thick. But the pants I buy him seem to put the wallet a little bit above where he sits, so he's not actually sitting on it.

The pain in your leg could also be sciatica. If you're sitting at a computer all day, make sure you get up every half hour or so and move around.

Shirleymac said...

My husband leaves his wallet at home, much to my consternation when I find out he's driving without his license! How about one of those fanny packs around your waist. Then you can look athletic all the time and not have to sit on it cause they go kind of to the side.

Elizabeth said...

This post made me smile and remember my dad and his wallet. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Sunshine said...

Wait a second - I thought that's why you guys wear baggy clothes! My thoughts have always been that most women are expected to flaunt their body shape by wearing tight-fitting (relatively, more or less) clothes where not much fits inside - so they need a purse to put all the essentials (and the vast amount of non-essentials) in. In contrast, guys can just look at a pants label (I know better, no need to correct, but to stereotype, I'll stick with this example ;) and can go pay for it - the pants are baggy enough to fit. Then the pockets of the pants - which are ALWAYS bigger than female pants pockets - get filled with essentials (and non-essentials). One of my work colleagues never fails to amaze me. It goes something like this: He:"Here are the keys to the work truck. Just a sec, they're in here somewhere." Starts rummaging in his pocket. Out come: his own car keys, piece of paper, pocket knife, wallet, short ruler, loose change, pliers (!). I don't know how he sits or climbs steps with all that stuff in his pockets (that was only one side!).
So, baggy clothes, not filing cabinets are your answer ;) Plus, I think it's fairly acceptable for guys to load their belts with clip-on thingies...


PS: If I start sending your writing to publishers, will you be offended? I'm semi-serious... The world deserves to know about your writing!

P. said...

I too have a dad who had a wallet like your dad's. The way you described it was spot-on. Hope your sciatica goes away soon. That could really cramp your quilting style. :)