A Tribute to My Pa

My Pa is a mechanic. He’s pretty much always been a mechanic. Ever since he was a young man, thirteen to be exact, he remembers helping his Pa put a motor in a car. (Well, he helped his Pa by handing him the tools. Before you can be a mechanic, you have to first be willing to be the tool-handler.)

My Pa is a mighty fine mechanic. He really knows what he’s doing.

Did you know that mechanics don’t actually know what’s wrong with your car when you tell them what noise it’s making? You can mimic the best broken car noise you know how, and a good mechanic will stand there, give you a courtesy nod, and then chuckle at your ridiculous antics and facial expressions later.

One time when I was like 16 or so and I was driving my car around town, I got scared. I got scared because my car was making a funny noise. And whenever my car made a funny noise, I immediately jumped to the logical assumption that it was about to explode. And by explode, I mean that I believed billowing smoke and consuming fire was about to go kablooey underneath the hood region and if I did not vacate the vehicle IMMEDIATELY, I too, would be consumed and perish from off the earth.

So, when I heard that noise, I did what any intelligent, slightly over-exaggerative, freaked-out daughter of a mechanic would do. I drove right down to my Pa’s mechanic shop. And I informed him of the eery sound coming from my left front tire regional area. I let him know that when I drove fast, the sound went fast like a drum. You know, “Bum-bum-bum-bum-bum!” And when I drove slow, the sound went slow like a slow tap. You  know, “Bum….bum….bum…bum.” Clearly I had given him sufficient information to diagnose the problem and get right to fixing it. After all, HE DIDN’T WANT MY CAR TO BLOW UP, did he?

Well, after a bit of dialogue, my Pa looked down at my tire, nonchalantly took out his tire gauge and plucked a rock from the tire thread. Then he smiled that smile that he does and said something like, “Well, looks like you’re good to go. This car might just last another day.”  And then I smiled sheepishly and drove off with great confidence that I would not be suffering from burn wounds after all.

Did I mention that my Dad is a really good mechanic? He’s also a really sweet Pa.

He’s such a sweet Pa that when I was younger and living at home, I had really wanted to help him out somehow. I’d see how tired and spent he was when he came home from working on the concrete and underneath cars all day. He’d come home with these swollen thumbs and cracked fingers and an aching back. Sometimes he had the sorest legs and I could hear him “creak” when he moved because of his messed up joints and somehow I just wanted to make it all a little easier.

I had this plan that I was going to volunteer down at his shop and do a little “fixing up.” You know, the kind of thing that girls always want to do to all the man-spaces in the world. I was thinking it would be nice if I organized the office, and dusted all the shelves and cleaned all the windows.

I was thinking that I could make everything nice and sparkly and shiny. I would put a new coat of paint on the walls and maybe paint the coffee table and organize all the magazines and just make it a little more…I don’t know, girly.
I even had this brilliant idea to pull all the weeds around the building and plant lots of pretty flowers. Now, doesn’t that sound just lovely?

But somehow I never got around to doing all those nice things that I had planned and that bathroom never did get a makeover with some smelly soap or artwork on the walls.

And there are still boxes stacked and dirt and grime in the corners but you know a funny thing? People still come to my Pa’s shop. They’ve come for years and when I’m waiting in the lobby, I hear a guy tell my uncle that he just won’t take his car anywhere else and he’ll wait till next week if need be to get an appointment.

And my Daddy doesn’t have spotless windows but over the years he’s gained people’s trust and I read once that a good name is better than riches.

He’s worked hard and gone to work day after day, even on the days when that was the last place he wanted to be. I’ve seen him forgive debts and live with integrity, even speaking well of others who haven’t spoken so well of him.
It’s not easy to find a faithful man but the faithful men keep going and plod along quietly and one day look up to find that all along they’ve been building something that will last forever. There is a kind of inheritance that endures. It’s born out of sweat and sacrifice and honest dealings when no one else is looking.
I’m thankful for my Pa. And I’m thankful for the legacy he’s passing down to us.


Surely the righteous will never be shaken,
They will be remembered forever.
(Psalm 112:6)


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