The Man and I needed to pick up our mail one last time before the camping season ended and we left the forest. The post office where we got our mail via general delivery was in a community about 15 miles from our campsite and was only open on weekday mornings. We’d missed it on our days off that week, so we made a special trip on Thursday before starting work.
As we wound our way down the mountain, The Man said he’d like a cup of coffee. The little market near the post office sold coffee, so I pulled in there first. The Man made it almost to the store’s front door, then turned around and came back to the van.
What’s the matter? I asked when he opened the door.
His wallet wasn’t in his pocket.
The Man loses things on a regualr basis, but he typicaly finds his possessions eventually. In fact, the night before he’d been unable to find his headlamp, but it had turned up in the morning in his gym bag. I was confident the wallet was in the van and would be found.
The Man looked through his things, but the wallet wasn’t there. I even got in the back of the van to check the back pocket of a pair of work pants where I was sure I’d recently seen the wallet. Nothing. After five minutes of looking, I offered to loan him a couple of bucks so he could get coffee and we could head to the post office. I knew he’d have to tear the van apart later, but the small parking lot in front of the market was probably not the right place for such an activity.
Could it be in the tent? I asked. Maybe in the red bag?
The Man seemed skeptical on both counts.
He was in the post office before I could get out of the van. He came bounding down the stairs as I was about to go up. The labradorite cabochons he’d ordered from India had arrived! However, the postal worker needed to see The Man’s ID before he would release the package. The Man was going back to the van to look for his wallet again.
While I was completing a change of address form, The Man came back into the post office holding his work badge. He explained to the postal worker that his wallet was missing, so he didn’t have his driver’s license, but he did have the photo ID from his job. Would that be acceptable?
I didn’t think it was going to work. I didn’t think a representative of a federal institution would recognize an ID issued by a private corporation instead of a governmental agency, but I was wrong. The postal worker turned over the package.
I have to find that wallet as soon as possible, The Man said as I drove us back to the campground. He knew he was going to worry until it was back in his hands.
It’s got to be in here, I reassured him, or maybe in the tent. We’ll pull everything out of the van if we have to.
When we arrived at the campground, the old guys dismantlilng the mercantile yurt were already at work. The three of them stood looking at us, which made me surly because I don’t enjoy having an audience while trying to park. I guess the men were waving because The Man said, They want to talk to you.
I don’t want to talk to them, I muttered, so The Man went over to find out what was up. Turns out he was the one they wanted to talk to.
Is this your wallet? the goofy one asked The Man while showing him the nylon trifold. I found it behind the outhouse.
It was The Man’s wallet. His driver’s license was in it, along with his debit card and the cash he’d gotten at the ATM before we left civilization earlier in the week. How and when it ended up behind the restroom, we have no idea, but we’re very grateful an honest man was back there looking for a tool he’s left behind weeks before.