[dropcap]I[/dropcap] pulled over somewhere outside Mobile, into a grocery store. She was loading her screaming kids into the car. You could hear them three states away. When I walked past her, she wore a helpless look on her young face.
She didn’t have the courage to ask for help.
So I asked her.
“Ma’am, is there something you need?”
She leaned against her door. “My car won’t start.”
Those words. I heard them a lot growing up. I wish I could tell you how many times my father helped a hapless soul with a busted vehicle. It was his gift to the world before he died. Working on engines.
He’d lean into the guts of a stranger’s Chevy and call out, “Try it now!” And it would eventually start.
He’d make certain of it.
I told the woman to pop the hood.
I peered into her engine. Lucky for her it was the battery. I was hoping for something more challenging. Maybe a bad spark plug, or a distributor cap.
I grabbed the jumper cables. It fired right up. Then I helped her load groceries into the backseat. She tried to offer me a twenty-dollar-bill.
I swatted her away.
I could hear my daddy’s voice. “I don’t want your damn money. You’d do the same thing for me.”
Folks would always reply, “Absolutely.”
I smiled at her. “I don’t want money. You’d do the same for me.”
She laughed. “Hell no I wouldn’t.”
I saw how she loved those babies. She’s a liar.