THE AMBULANCE DRIVER
My father was a well-respected man.
My father was a devout Baptist.
My father was the only Baptist in a very large family.
My father died in 1976. By that time I was pretty sure that he was a Taoist, perhaps even a Buddhist but certainly not a Baptist.
Mother called my father Lovey and so did I.
Lovey called Mother Oodles and so did I.
Lovey did not insist that I follow in his footsteps; he encouraged me to ask questions (of myself) and to seek answers.
LEE: Lovey, Oodles told me about Aristotle; who was Aristotle?
LOVEY: Look up Aristotle in The World Book, Lee.
LEE: I found a book on Aristotle at the library and I checked it out. I read the introduction and discovered that Aristotle had some very different ideas. What if Aristotle was wrong about everything, Lovey?
Should I read this book; whaddaya think?
LOVEY: Son, I think you should assume that everything in that book is wrong.
LEE: Okay Lovey, I’ll return it to the library tomorrow.
LOVEY: No, no Son, let me finish; I think you should first assume that this book is wrong and then I think you should read it. If you are going to judge a book with new information and you judge it to be good without ever having read it, then what is the sense of reading it.
By judging this book or any book with new ideas to be a bookful of mistakes, then every line in that book will mean something to you. You won’t ever again need to ask your parents, your teacher, your friends or even your enemies if a book with new ideas is good or bad or some of each.
You may even be able to write your own books.
Would you like to be an author sharing fresh ideas?
LEE: Gee, Lovey; you’re the smartest father in the whole world.
Lovey only made it through the second grade. When his father Dr Broom died, Lovey who was Horace Dixie Broom, managed the family farm until World War One.
Dixie was fourteen by then and knew as much about medicine as any of the front-line medics. His new job in the Ambulance Corps had him picking up injured soldiers and with the help of others in the trenches got his passengers into a Mule Team Covered Wagon and return them to the medical tents. He often had to patch up his passengers before bringing them aboard.
Lovey was not a blood relation, by the way.
Lovey and Oodles, my Great-Aunt Marie adopted me in 1943. I was four years old. Oodles taught me to read in 1943. These new parents of mine bought me lots of books…
All of those books were wrong.