Monday, May 19, 2014

Stolen Cars and Borrowed Jacks

I could have cared less whether the Kirby kids ate lunch or not…until my dad taught me a valuable lesson.

With my older brothers and sister grown and gone, it only left me and my sister (two years my senior) to help out on the farm.  I’m sure my dad wished Mom and he had given birth to more boys, and I guess that’s why Dad befriended many of the neighborhood boys who surrounded our farm, particularly the Kirby kids – Johnny and Donny.

Now my sister and I were about the same ages as Johnny and Donny, and we went to school together.  That is, if the Kirby kids showed up for school.  I didn’t really understand what it would be like growing up in a home with alcoholic parents who were never around and never cared whether there was a meal on the table for their kids.  I didn’t know parents who would knock you across the room for answering a question wrong.

The boys were dirty, dressed in ragged clothes, and always came to school bruised.  At the start, I disliked them because of the attention they received from my dad, and, now, I realize that the Kirby kids disliked me and my sister for all the riches they could see we had, mainly our parents.

I have to admit, I resented the fact that Dad paid the boys for working on the farm when he didn’t us, and I couldn’t stand it when he bragged about their grades of C’s and D’s when he hardly acknowledged our A’s.  Instead of explaining his philosophies, he simply said, “It’s hard for boys than girls.”

One cold, autumn night, the doorbell rang about midnight.  My sister and I slipped on our robes and slippers and stumbled up the basement stairs to see what was going on.  Dad stood at the front door, shirtless, his jeans loosely done up and scratching his head. 

He finally came through the kitchen bewildered.  “The Kirby kids have a flat tire about three miles from here and need to borrow a jack. Go back to bed.  I’ll go get it.”

Later in the wee hours of the morning, they had apparently returned the jack because we found it on the front porch.

About a week later, we found out from Johnny's and Donny’s older sister that the boys had stolen a car and ended up with a flat tire.  They were both in juvenile detention.

The Kirby kids had walked three miles in the cold and at night to borrow my dad’s jack and another three to get back to the stolen car.  Then, they had driven back to the farm to return it before getting caught by the police.  

It was then that I realized what my dad had been doing and why.  He taught all of us a lesson in his own quiet way—a lesson of love, compassion, understanding, respect, honor, friendship and gratitude.

My heart still swells with pride and gratitude for the wonderful parents I was blessed with, the lessons they taught me, and all the many blessings I’ve been given.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense…and Dogs!
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Copyright: isselee / 123RF Stock Photo

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