The summer of his fifteenth year, his family, without his sister, his only sibling, because she was now married, traveled again from their home in the south suburbs of Chicago to the north woods of Wisconsin to vacation with his dad’s only relative in the states, his aunt, a sister to his dad’s late mother.
The fifteen-year-old wandered the woods wearing the new Minnetonka moccasins his parents had bought him and he went fishing with his father. All the while he thought about a girl back home. He didn’t think she was his girlfriend. She was a girl and a friend. He really didn’t know what a girlfriend was.
Just before vacation was over, he bought her what he could afford, a small, leather coin purse just large enough for the word Minocqua to be burned onto one side.
When he got home he ran to her house and he talked all about his vacation. She talked about a new boy she met, someone who obviously came from a well-to-do family as the boy had talked about the family boating on Cedar Lake in their new Chris Craft speedboat.
He fingered the coin purse in his pocket. It seemed small and not a very good gift to be giving. Surreptitiously, he took it out of his pocket and slipped it between the couch cushions and then he left.
Days later at school she asked him if he had left the coin purse for her. He nodded. She said thanks and that it was a nice purse, and that was that for the kid in his fifteenth year and his friend who was a girl and a friend but not a girlfriend.