I learned a lot of things from watching Daddy and following the example he set:
- I learned about Jesus Christ andhis saving graces.
- I learned to attend church regularly.
- I learned to donate to charity willingly.
- I learned the reason to dress up for church.
- I learned how to use power tools, how to cut a straight edge,a compound angle, how to use a dado blade, a rabbit tool, an electric drill, a router, a coping saw, etc.
- I learned respect for elders.
- I learned to protect my possessions.
- I learned to play the Jews Harp.
- I learned to jump over a broomstick while holding both ends in my hands.
- I learned to treat women with respect and tenderness.
- I learned to fish.
- I learned patience.
- I learned the importance of a good job.
- I learned forgiveness
- I learned to whistle real loud, and have my children recognize MY whistle.
- I learned the techniques of cutting glass.
- I learned other things that I cannot recall or relate here, too.
Sitting behind my father who is also sitting on the floor, I repeatedly run a hairbrush through his hair until my arms eventually tire of the activity.
Waking up on a warm sunny Saturday morning, I hear the familiar "clink" of daddy's Zippo lighter as it flips open and he presses his thumb against the friction wheel striking the flint and the spark ignites the escaping lighter fluid (long before butane lighters) as the smell of the escaping fluid vapors are quickly overcome with the smell of the smoke from his first cigarette of the day.
I am in the front of a small Jon boat with my Dad, in a lake near our home, paddling around trying to find just the perfect spot to catch that big bass we saw yesterday. The pollen from the surrounding trees is settling on the surface of the water. The sunshine is cooking at the cool surface of the water as ripples move away from our small boat.
Daddy makes a cast. The fly lands on the calm surface the water. Just then, a large hole opens up in the water and the fly begins to fall in. The sound of sucking water startled Daddy so, he instinctively yanked on the line, pulling the fly right out of the mouth of what had to have been a trophy Bass. I guess that is why they nicknamed that area "Fisherman's Paradise".
My dad managed motels off and on for twenty five years of his life. He worked for James Horshaw Lane and James' wife. The first motel he managed was in Yemassee, S.C. when my sister Jane and I were about three and four respectively. It was strategically located at the intersection of highway 17 and what could be called "Main Street". This was before Interstate highways streaked up and down and across the United States. Every one on their way out of the north on their way to Florida, passed this intersection. Everyone!
When a tourist would rent a room for the night, it was customary to compliment them with a pitcher of ice to refresh themselves with.
One evening, late, a couple came in, on their way to Florida. They were on their honeymoon. After they had a chance to take their luggage in, Daddy scooped a pitcher of ice and told me to "Carry this down to room #12."
Now, these motel rooms were cottages, each separate from the other, not the long continuous sting of rooms on a common hall one sees today. I timidly knocked on their door with the pitcher of ice in my hand. (Remember, I was only four years old.) When the husband came to the door, he was surprised to see this short stranger. Upon taking the pitcher, he asked,
(which, by the way was an option title for this book)
Apparently, they thought it was cute, because about ten minutes later, Daddy come looking for me.
They had invited me in and struck up a conversation. I think I got tipped 50 cents.
One day, Daddy, Hank and I were at the motel in Walterboro. Hank was about seven. Daddy was painting rooms, I was running after things he needed (Daddy called it 'step-n-fetch it') and Hank was just running. Hank asked if we wanted a Pepsi Cola. He was going to get one. We both replied that we didn't want one right then.
When Hank returned, he offered us a sip. I took the bottle, turned it up and drank about 5 ounces of that twelve ounce Pepsi Cola without stopping. I handed it to Daddy and he nearly drank the other half. He then handed it back to Hank with about one ounce left in it.
Hank didn't bother to offer us any more sips.
I am sitting on the cool autumn ground watching a pile of freshly fallen leaves burn, as the smell enters my nostrils and I realize nothing else smells exactly like that.
I tip toe through my grandfather's herbal Ginseng garden, wondering if the roots really do look like little men who scream when pulled from the ground.
(End of Chapter 7)