Papaw Eeyore

Papaw Eeyore

When I think about it, I still have to shake my head.

Many people called my papaw by his initials: E.O. Years ago, there was a little neighbor boy who called Papaw “Eeyore” instead of E.O. While we all thought it was so cute, it really didn’t fit Papaw. He was nothing like the Eeyore of A. A. Milne’s creation in “Winnie the Pooh.” Papaw didn’t go around grumbling and he didn’t have floppy ears or a tail that that kept falling off. Instead, he had a positive attitude and a heart of gold, but he was also very accident prone.

At this time, Tim and I still lived next door to my grandparents’ house. Our house was a little further up the hill from them and we all shared a front driveway.

Late one afternoon, I was cooking in the kitchen when I heard the front door open. I peeked around the corner and there stood Papaw. He was fidgeting from foot to foot. “I need to talk to Tim.”

My heart jumped into my throat. I knew he had some kind of accident. I didn’t ask him why or what. To be honest, I didn’t want to know. When I told Tim Papaw needed to talk to him, his eyes bulged. Tim took in a big breath and walked out with Papaw.

I waited inside with baited breath. Soon, Tim came back in, shaking his head. “You need to go look at your car.”

The back of my neck tightened. “Why do I need to look at my car?”

“You just need to look.” With that, I followed Tim out the front door. As soon as I stepped off the front porch, I saw the front of my car. It seemed to be okay. Papaw was standing next to the driver’s side and his farm truck was very close to my car and parked at a very close angle.

This was not good.

I didn’t think there was a way to park like that without hitting the other car and I was right.

Upon reaching my car, I gasped. In the front left fender was a long deep gash. Scraggly scratches emanated out from it. What was left of the side mirror was hanging by a thread. The door handles and the chrome trim were mangled. There was a long scrape down to the metal that ran down the side of my car.

My car’s fate was sealed earlier that afternoon when Papaw’s surgeon had cleared him to drive again.

While Papaw was recuperating, my uncle tended the cattle for him. He parked Papaw’s farm truck up next to my house with the tailgate down. But my papaw always kept his tailgate up and parked in front of his house.

Papaw was so excited to tend to his cattle again. He had been cooped up in the house and I think that was harder on him than the surgery. He loved being out on the farm with his cows and the Lord.

So, my eager Papaw hopped into his farm truck without taking the time to check the tailgate. As he backed out, the tailgate slammed into my fender and it flipped up. The tailgate scraped down the side of my car as Papaw proceeded to back out.

“I am so sorry.” Papaw lowered his head. “I’ll make sure your car gets fixed and I’ll pay the deductible.”

Even though I was a writer, at that moment, I was at a loss for words. My brain was still adjusting to the shock of what had happened to my car. One minute it was sitting in the driveway; minding its own business and the next it was gouged and scraped.

“Nobody got hurt,” was all I said. Fussing and yelling at somebody doesn’t undue the problem or the mistake. It just makes it worse.

Besides, just a couple of months prior, we were worried he wouldn’t make it. He came through a medical ordeal that some people wouldn’t have survived. I was thankful to still have him. He meant more to me than the car.

Papaw looked up at me and gave a small smile.

I knew I had done the right thing. And I knew he would make sure my car was repaired.
The next time you feel yourself become upset or angry, take a second to think of something to be thankful for and say a quick prayer of thanks. That will help you calm down and keep some perspective.

Fortunately, Papaw was on the insurance company’s board and they knew him well. They were used to him calling with all of his unusual accidents. In fact, I think they probably expect something like that every time he called them.

Once Tim and I went back inside, I had a thought. I asked Tim, “I know that had to have caused a loud noise. Hello, it was metal scraping against metal. Why didn’t Papaw hear it?”

Tim shrugged. “Maybe he has selective hearing?”

That made sense. Papaw always heard my mom, Sara, and myself, when we talked to him, but he never heard my Mamaw when she talked.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (KJV)

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