A Valentine

That VW bus was never a good car. Full of everything I owned, the car’s top speed was 43 miles per hour as I drove up Georgia backroads to start a summer job in the mountains of North Carolina. There was one family living in an old trailer near the place where it threw a rod. They invited me to stay with them while the car was fixed, so I unloaded the electric piano into the front yard and put on a little concert for their young boy, who grinned and said, “This is like an episode of ‘The Waltons!’” (Maybe one of his friends had a television.) I slept on an old car seat. Returning from house-painting all day, the mother and father shared their simple dinner (all fried) with me.

When the job ended five months later, I drove that route to thank them again and give them some money, but all I found were the charred remains of an old trailer and a burned “God Bless Our Home” sign.

Today is Valentine’s Day and I send my love to that kind and generous family who rescued me and let me be part of their family. I wish I knew their names. I hope life has been as kind and generous to them as they were to me.