When the kids are grown it's good to have a cause. For some it's an abused animal, maybe a three-legged dog. For me it was an abandoned sixty-six Chevy Malibu. I just had to bring it home, and sheltered it in the garage. When my wife found out how sad it looked, she said I could keep it.
I worked on my metallic baby, and after a few months I couldn't wait to show it off at church. When the service was over, I walked to the handicap section where I parked in two spaces, and couldn't believe my eyes. Some guy skinned my perfect black mica paint!
I knew it couldn't be Mr. Stanley, the only crippled man who had a sticker for handicap parking. He waved his cane at me from across the lot. Besides, he likes a challenge.
It's incredible to think that someone from church could do this, and never leave a note. Granted, we all make mistakes, but you would think a brother should know the meaning of courtesy.
First, I worked the parking lot, and then setup surveillance near the intersection. But it wasn't working, some of the members recognized me in my blue-blocker sunglasses, and started waving at me with their sunflower happy faces. "Hello, and go already. Yes, move on." NO evidence of my black paint on a single car.
When I peeled out you could smell the rubber burning, and it sounded like a long scratch on a chalkboard. I zipped in and out of traffic like it was the "Daytona 500." I had a vice-grip on the steering wheel, and pretended it was the head of my offender. I figured it was one of those careless little sixteen year-old "newbie" drivers. He probably had mommy by his side saying, "Oh, don't worry honey, it's just a scratch. He'll probably NEVER notice."
I could just picture that dude with a nervous smile, pimple faced, twisted corners of his mouth, crying all over mommy. "He's going to cry, when I drag his rear-end all the way to the altar." Everybody will know what a fool he is!
I dashed home to find the phone number of this offending family in the church directory. As I roared up the drive, I realized I had forgot my daughter was home from her studies at Liberty University. This settled me down some, because I didn't want to spoil our Sunday.
In fact, before I had the door, I smelled that pot roast: purple bulbous onions, soft orange carrots, fat crumbling potatoes, all mixed in with meat that melts in your mouth. Yum.
"Honey I'm home!"
"You need to console your daughter, she's in the den crying her eyes out."
"What on earth for?"
" She wanted to park next to your newly rebuilt car to get a good look at it before church. She was so excited to see it."
"Well guess what?"
"We left the service early to check on the pot roast, but when she pulled out, she was afraid she might hit the handicap pole, and shaved your car instead."
"Didn't you notice?"
My princess rushed in from the den, all red faced with tears. "I'm so...so sorry daddy." She wrapped her arms around me, and it had been a while since I got such a warm hug from her.
I had flash backs of her, which reminded me of when she would come running in from the playground with a skinned knee, or off from the school bus when someone had picked on her. She was glad I was there, even if all I could do was give her a big hug.
"Oh, it's okay honey, it's just a little scratch, it's nothing," I said. "God cares more about the scratches on your heart."
My dear wife, who has acquired this uncanny ability to read my mind after all these years, dutifully leaned from the doorway of the kitchen, arms folded with spatula. "And we sure wouldn't want our heart to get excited, now would we."
"Boy, dinner sure smells good," I said.
The following week I parked in a regular space, and even helped Mr. Stanley through the church doors. There was plenty of room at the altar that day, so I PARKED myself there for a while.
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