I had an interesting conversation with my mother last night, and she regaled me with a quick story that I thought worth repeating ...
As some of you may remember from last fall, my father passed away right before Thanksgiving. His health had not been good for some time prior to his passing, and as a consequence my nephew Patrick has been mowing the yard with a riding lawnmower for the last few years, with my mother going around the edges and tight spots with a push mower. Well, spring hits KC well before it reaches the Great White North of Toledo and the grass was already in terrible need of a trim.
My mother did her part and Patrick came over to the house to take his normal role. Now the riding mower hadn't been run since leaf pick up in the fall, and Patrick was unsure of the proper choke setting to get it started after so long a period. He asked my mother, but basic mechanical is unfortunately not among the many talents that she has, and she had no advice to offer. Very soon however, the full-throated roar of the mower was heard. Patrick completed his task with remarkable alacrity and departed with very little to say for himself.
His haste to depart and lack of communication was explained a couple of days later, when my sister Maureen called to fill mom in. It seems as though Patrick, standing in the garage and scratching his head over the situation, clearly heard my father say, "Pull the choke out and start it". He did, and the mower immediately caught. Distressed over how he had reached the answer however, and fearing my mother's sensitivity to the solution to this dilemma he kept silent, only later confessing to his own parents after returning home.
Now my father was always a rather low-key individual, a true patriarch of the Higgins clan, and a master of all things mechanical. He was also someone who was known share that mechanical mastery with his offspring of every generation (often without being asked). So it seems only fitting (and hardly surprising) that he should find a way to make his presence felt when such a need arose.
As for my take on the story, knowing Patrick to be a young man of good quality and upright character, I take it on face value. If he believes it, then I believe it. I am likewise happy to know that my dad is out there somewhere keeping an eye on the rest of us. I for one, can use all of the help that I can get.