My Daddy was a brilliant man. He forgot more than most men will ever know.
Once, years ago, Miranda and I kept hearing a dripping noise as we tried to drift off to sleep. I finally told her I was calling Daddy.
“Your father cannot diagnose a drip over the phone,” she said.
After a moment of stunned silence, I was able to quietly say, “You take that back.”
“Son, I know you’ve checked the sinks in the bathroom and the shower…” he said to me after I explained why I was calling.
“Yes, sir. I checked them,” I replied.
“Did you check *under* the sinks?” he asked.
“Yes, sir. They’re not leaking,” I told him.
Dad thought for a moment before he continued. “Son, I think there’s a faucet on the wall outside your bedroom. Have you looked there?”
“No, sir…. hold on. I’m walking out there now…. no, sir…. no drip.”
Daddy paused then asked, “Your water heater is in the attic. I think it is on the same side of the house as your bedroom. Have you checked it?”
“No, sir, but I’m climbing up there now. Let me find the light…. hold on a second, Dad. I need to tell Miranda something,” I said as I covered up the phone before yelling from the attic.
“I TOLD YOU MY DADDY WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND THE PROBLEM!”
He knew. He always knew.
Tonight, I wanted to be able to call him. I wanted to ask, “Dad, I’m trying to jump off the Cadillac, and it still won’t start. And where the heck is the battery on this stupid car? I see a post with a red plastic cap… Daddy, does this car even have a flipping battery?”
He would have known. He had bought the Cadillac, and like lots of the cars he bought, it had a salvaged title. It is a prime ride bought for a cheap price because that is the way Larry J. rolled. He serviced it and took care of it, and Mom drove it.
It’s also the last car he rode in. He rode in it to Birmingham, and from Birmingham, he went home. Not Enterprise-home but home-home. Not home to be with Mom, but home to be with Jesus.
So, tonight I couldn’t call and ask him where the battery was on that stinking Cadillac. I had to use a tool that knows maybe a little less than my Daddy knew… Google.
As I worked on that car, my bride held a flashlight for me, and I laughed as I told her about changing the oil in my Daddy’s truck as he shouted instructions at me. (“Just twist it, son!” “Daddy, I *know* how to get a filter off!”)
I told her how he always told me how he could change the oil in a truck in a white dress shirt and not get a drop on it. And even though she’s heard the stories before, she held the light and listened to them once again because she knows the story behind the stories.
She knows that some days, I’m just a little boy in grown-up clothes, a little boy who misses his father.
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