my grandfather grew up during the depression
I think he was a teenager then
my grandmother was about ten years older I think
they were very stingy as they got older
I don’t blame them.

when I was little I remember
my grandfather showing me a
folded dollar bill in his wallet.
he had it there for years
to me it seemed like it had been there forever.
he told me that
as long as he kept that dollar in his wallet
and never spent it
he would never ever be broke.

that stuck with me.

years later
years after he died,
I went through his dresser
in my grandmother’s room
I found his wallet in there
I opened it
and found the folded dollar.
I remembered the story.
I took the dollar and put it in my wallet.
there it stayed
for about a week
until I needed a pack of smokes
and had no money.
smokes were about .88 cents.

that dollar
sat in my grandfather’s wallet
for decades
keeping him sane
giving him a piece of mind
that he would never be broke
the way he was during the great depression
he held that dollar
even after he died
for years
just so
one day
I could take it and spend it.

that pack of cigarettes tasted like shit
I felt awful smoking that pack
every cig that came out
I remembered what my grandfather said
until the pack was empty
and I needed another.

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