– Proverbs 15:13
“Here’s some money,” Mama said, “you can all walk to the corner store and pick out some birthday cards for your Dad. And when you get back, it would be a nice surprise if you’d all clean his car while he’s sleeping in.”
So my brother, Ronnie, my sister, Penny, and I walked to the store, bought our cards, walked back home and went to work on Daddy’s birthday surprise. Ronnie got all the pails for water; Penny hunted up the wax and I gathered up a bunch of old towels.
“Well, the best thing you can use,” Mama said, “is lots of elbow grease.”
“Elbow grease?” Penny giggled, “where’s that?”
Penny wasn’t big enough to do much scrubbing, but she tried her best. We all worked hard on that hot July day. We washed the dirt off the car, then used towels and dried it real good. We put the wax on and let that dry to a haze. Then we polished the car to a sparkling glow. Daddy always drove new cars, they were his pride and joy, and he liked them clean and shiny. We were all sweating and scrubbing but I knew he would be pleased when he woke up on his birthday and saw his shiny car. It would be worth it all, no matter how hard we had to work, just to see Daddy’s face.
We were sitting under the shade tree waiting. Mama brought out glasses of cold strawberry Kool Aid, then she went back in the house to tell him we had a surprise outside. She wasn’t feeling well, being heavy with the new baby that would be born soon. She stayed in the house and peeked out the window. Daddy finally came out, holding his coffee cup. He took a sip then walked over to look at his car. We all watched his face. He walked around to the front of the car and inspected it all over. He walked around to the other side, took another swig of his coffee, then walked to the back. Daddy bent down, looked at the bottom, then looked towards all of us. He pointed to a place on the car.
“You missed a spot,” he said, “right here.”
Then he turned around and walked back into the house.
I couldn’t believe it. After all the hours of hard work in the hot sun: not so much as a “Thank-You,” or even a smile. Ronnie and Penny looked as disappointed as I felt.
Mama came outside again. She looked so tired. “Oh my,” she said, “that looks good, you kids did a great job.”
If only those words had came from Daddy. We all went back inside. Mama wanted us to sing “Happy Birthday.” Afterwards, Daddy opened his gift of Old Spice aftershave from Mama, then he opened our cards. Ronnie saved his for last. On the front of the card it said, “Happy Birthday to someone who is always my best friend.” When you opened the card, it said, “My Dog.”
Daddy wasn’t too happy when he looked at that. “Oh, no,” I thought, “what’s he going to do to Ronnie now?”
Excerpt from “Daddy Never Called Me Princess.”
To read more click HERE.