Wisconsin Honesty


When I first came to West Virginia in 1971, I met a local man who, upon learning that I'd come from Wisconsin, lit up with interest.  He explained that Wisconsin people had a good reputation with West Virginians.  It seems West Virginia coal miner lost his wallet during the Great Depression.  It was a big loss in those days.  He never found it.  Three years later, just before Christmas, he received a neatly wrapped package from Wisconsin.  When he opened it, he found his wallet with all its contents and a note.  The man wrote that he'd been shoveling coal into his furnace and found the wallet.


Two weeks ago, my brother was in route to meet his kids in Wisconsin for a weeklong canoe trip in Canada.  Weather prevented him from flying into Central Wisconsin Airport, so he took a bus to Madison to link up with his twin brother.  When he called for his brother to pick him up at the bus station, he inadvertently left his wallet by the phone.  When he got to his twin's house, he discovered his wallet was missing, so they drove right back.  The wallet was gone.


Trying to think of what to do, they thought of calling his phones in Phoenix.  When he called, there was a message from a woman from rural Waunakee, saying that she'd found his wallet.  Waunakee was only about ten miles away.  She gave them directions to her farmhouse and they drove over.  Thanks to Wisconsin honesty, my brother got his wallet back the same day he lost it, and the legend grows.


Copyright 1999 (c) Ronald W. Hull




More Poems

My Place

Read War's End, the Novel