CREDOS: Parting gift — II

My jobs chauffeuring a rich lady, janitoring at the library, reading to a blind student, and baby-sitting professors’ kids filled in the financial gaps.”When you get a job, be sure it’s honest and work hard,” my father continued.

Then my dad reached down beside his seat and brought out the old, dingy Bible that he used when he wanted to look something up in a friendly argument with one of the neighbours. I knew he would miss it. He didn’t tell me to read it every morning. He just said, “This can help you, if you will let it.”

Did it help? I got through college without being a burden on my family. I have had a good earning capacity ever since. When I finished school, I took the Bible back to my father, but he said he wanted me to keep it. “You will have a kid in school some day,” he told me. “Let the first one take that Bible along.”

Now, too late, I remember. It would have been so nice to have given it to my daughter when she got out of the car. But I didn’t. Things were different. I

was prosperous and my father wasn’t. I had gone places. I could give her everything. My father could give me only a battered, old Bible. I’d been able to give my daughter what she needed.

Or had I? I don’t really believe now that I gave her half as much as my father gave me. So the next morning I wrapped up the book and sent it to her. I wrote a note. “This can help you,” I penned, “if you will let it.” — (Concluded)