His dad had not been a wealthy man by any means, living in a rented apartment above a storefront and working part time as a mechanic up until the aches and pains of his disease confined him to bed three weeks ago. It had taken all the money in the man’s savings account to pay the funeral expenses. Luckily he had no outstanding debt when he died. There was no will to be read, as the old man had owned nothing when he died. Nothing but the wallet. The day he died, he had placed it in his son’s hand and said, “Son, I am leaving this world a much richer man than when I entered it 74 years ago. I have a world of wealth in this old wallet and I want to leave it with you. Please take good care of it and its contents and perhaps you can pass it on to your son someday.”
The wallet had been sitting on the nightstand by his bed since the day his dad gave it to him two weeks ago. How could his dad have said he was rich and suggest that the wealth could be passed on someday? There was no money whatsoever in that old wallet. Just a bunch of old yellowed pictures and a folded up piece of paper that looked like they had been there for ages.
As he reached to turn out the light and go to bed, he caught a glimpse of the wallet. He carefully picked it up and turned it over in his hands. The wallet had to be almost as old as his dad had been. He opened the wallet and one by one, cautiously removed and took inventory of the items it held: four pictures and one folded and tattered piece of paper.
He looked at the first picture. It was of him and his dad on their last fishing trip two summers ago. They hadn’t caught many fish that year but they had certainly had a good time together. He remembered his dad telling him that this might be their last fishing trip together. If he had only known then how true those words were. On the back of the picture, in his dad’s handwriting it said, “My amazing son. I am so proud of him! ”
The second picture was of him and his dad at college graduation thirty something years ago. He didn’t even know his dad still had this picture. He was in his cap and gown holding his diploma. His dad was next to him dressed in his suit and tie. They were both smiling so brightly their faces were shining. Turning the picture over, he read, “My amazing son. I am so proud of him! ”
The third picture was a picture of him riding his bicycle down the sidewalk in front of his childhood home. He recalled this as clearly as if it were yesterday. Riding his bicycle alone for the first time with no training wheels! There was a look of terror combined with sheer joy on his face. His dad was in standing in the background appearing to cheer him on. The back of the picture read, “My amazing son. I am so proud of him! ”
The fourth picture was a picture of his dad holding a tiny baby in a tiny hospital room. The picture had been taken many years before. He recognized the baby from some of his old baby photographs. In the picture, it appeared that he and his dad were staring into each other’s eyes. His dad’s face was beaming. He turned the picture over and read, “My amazing son. I am so proud of him!”
When he was finished looking at the pictures, he moved on to the folded piece of paper. He carefully unfolded it and as he read it, he could not believe the words written in his father’s handwriting. “Dear Son, You are no doubt wondering why I would have left you only a beat up old wallet when I died. My dad did the same for me. I learned a lot from that wallet, so I have been planning the same for you since the day you were born. While it contains not one cent of money, this wallet contains a world of wealth to me. Please always remember that you are my amazing son and I am so proud of you! Love, Dad”
He blinked back tears as he replaced the contents of the wallet and gently laid it back on his nightstand.
A wallet with no money in it, yet it contained a world of wealth. That’s what his dad had left to him.
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