Saturday, August 06, 2005


(Originally run 2/19/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson

You know, did you ever stop to think of the little things your parents did for you, your whole life and, when you look back, how many of the details are really worth taking note? Little stuff that today is a treasure, because of the way it was given.

Dad and the Ticket

Once, many years ago, my dad and I were sitting on the front porch of the little house on North Main (actually, Rocky Branch Road). Dad had been retired for several years with a medical disability. At that time, he was about fifty, (he passed away at fifty-three, young by my standards) and living in pain with poor circulation, and legs that would no longer move without great effort. Thrombosis phlebitis, I think they called it.

We were relaxing, just having small talk. It occurred to me, that if you measure success by effort and persistence, here was a success, and not by material things alone. I commented my admiration for these efforts: “Dad, you and mom have done well, and with all the hardships you’ve faced, you still have paid for the house, and the car, and are really debt free. Not many can say that as retirement approaches and, even with a limited income, you have accomplished a lot in your life.”

He was quiet for a moment, and then replied, “Well, son, it’s been rough, but I’ve enjoyed it.” He looked at me thoughtfully, and I pondered his response to my statement.

It irritated me to no end once, coming to visit mom and dad, to get a speeding ticket on highway 67 coming through Bald Knob. It must have been around 1962. Not only was money scarce, you had to personally go to court to pay the fine. Diane and I were living and teaching in Cooter, MO, and it would have been a great hardship to come to Searcy to make the court appearance.

On the day of traffic court, dad went to the White County courthouse and sat with the people who were as stupid as I to have gotten a speeding citation. The judge said, “White County vs. Ernest Simpson, is the defendant present?”

Dad said, “Here, your Honor.”

“How do you plead, “ says the judge.

“Guilty, your Honor,” dad said. He paid the fine and left.

I always admired my father for sticking up for me there, and I’m not too sure, but I think he could have gotten in trouble for doing that, and me, too, maybe. They meant for the sorry scofflaw to be present and take his medicine, with no such thing as a substitute. Of course, I reimbursed the fine to dad, but I never forgot that little thing, one of many gestures by him on my behalf in my life.


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