Little finger lost power over ‘old mule’

Published 3:32 am Saturday, June 15, 2013

I often find myself wishing that I could connect my daddy’s brain to a zip drive and back up the knowledge and history stored there.

As he gets older, he’s forever dropping stories that I don’t remember from my childhood, and we really do need to record them.

Take, for instance, this week. He gave one of my co-workers a history lesson.

The building that is his newspaper office, he said, was once a mule stable.

“There’s still a pair of horseshoes embedded in the cement outside the back door,” he explained. “There are very few around here who remember it, but those that do are united in their belief that there is still one ‘ole jackass’ still around

“I wonder who they are talking about,” he joked.

As if there were any question. Not our sweet mama, for sure. What you see is what you get with him, and he’s a straight shooter if ever one walked this earth.

When the stubborn streak in our family appears, we joke that “it’s the Kimbro popping out.” Years ago, when Daddy was busy caring for his mother and an ailing aunt and the “Kimbro” came out in them, I would remind him to be nice, to be patient.

“You’re going to be doing the same kinds of things to me one day,” I reminded him. “This is what I have to look forward to.”

I have spent a lifetime being the proverbial “daddy’s girl,” always eager to make good enough grades, or achieve enough to make him proud. I was the appointed spokesperson when Mother or the boys wanted to approach him about something, “because you can talk him in to it.”

And mostly, I could.

And then, 13 years ago, on Father’s Day weekend, this little finger lost its power.

I was on a girls’ trip to New York City when he left me the message.

“ ’Chele, this is Daddy. We’ve got a girl.”

He swears that sweet Sarah Kimberly, his first grandchild, smiled at him the first time she looked at him. Far be it from me to question Daddy about such a foolish notion, or to put thoughts in SK’s head. But she should have been grinning, ear to ear.

Because even a very young girl can recognize a gullible man when she sees him. And her little finger definitely has power over her granddaddy.

He may be an old mule, but he’s our old mule. I’m happy to share him with our girl.