[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’m going to call him Skip, but that’s not his real name. I met him on the side of Highway 10, outside Tallahassee. He stood next to an old Dodge, watching traffic zoom by.
Skip’s alternator had gone to be with Jesus.
I don’t often pick up strangers, but it was too hot to let anyone stand next to a broke-down Dodge.
When I shook Skip’s hand, I noticed he looked familiar. Two bushy gray eyebrows, a toothy smile, and a pair of long knobby legs. And that laugh. Skip had a wide-mouthed, animated laugh. Like Mister Ed.
My father laughed like Mister Ed.
Skip rode in the passenger seat beside me, chatting up a blue streak. I tried not to stare at him, but I couldn’t help it. The fella beside me could’ve been my daddy’s twin.
And while Skip talked, I thought about Daddy. I imagined what he’d look like if he were alive. The things we might talk about while riding in the truck. Daddy’d probably talk about baseball pitchers and batting averages. Maybe I’d talk about Jamie, or boats. Then, maybe we’d flip on the radio and let Hank Williams howl at us while we ate spicy pork rinds.
I dropped Skip off at Publix to wait for his wife. He shook my hand again and said, “Thanks buddy. You helped me out a lot, the sun would’ve burned me into a tater tot if you wouldn’t have come along.”
I let out a little snort.
Because I laugh a lot like Mister Ed, too.