I thought it was sweet, though, that he kept those pictures; treasured them, really. He wasn't that great at birthdays or anniversaries, or Mother's Day, but the fact that he adored those photos always reminded me of his love for her.
I liked to look at them too. I don't know when it was but I looked in his wallet and noticed that one of the pictures had sort of decayed around the edges. I asked him about it.
He laughed. "Didn't I ever tell you?" he asked. "It was the darnedest thing." It seems that he'd lost his wallet one fall, out on the tractor. We still had an old Allis Chambers open air tractor with a metal seat. That wallet, housed in his back pocket, had worked its way out and fallen somewhere in a field next to the pond he'd tried and failed to stock with fish. He'd looked for it when he noticed it was missing, but couldn't find it. "This biggest thing, was, that it has those photos, in it," he said. It wasn't the money in it he was going to miss, but he hated to lose those pictures of his young sweetheart.
Fast forward to spring. Same field. "I stood there and remembered that that was where I'd lost my wallet," he told me. "I decided that before I did anything to it: turned the soil, or disced, or messed with it, that I'd walk over it one more time." And there is was. A season later, after the winter snow had melted: his wallet. The leather was decayed and falling apart in his hands, a $50 bill, partly disintegrated. But the photos, in their plastic sleeve where still there. His young love staring back at him, except some minor decay along the edges.
He got a new wallet, a new plastic sleeve for the photos, and went to bank where they exchanged him for a crisp $50 bill. He smiled and looked at her picture. "I sure would have hated to lose those," he'd said. "Isn't she beautiful?"
He put the wallet back in his pocket and we went upstairs, where Mom was there, with dinner, waiting.