No one knows how Hoot got
his nickname. No one cares either. Hoot is a mechanic, but not any
ordinary mechanic. Hoot is a phenomenon. He started working on cars at the
age of ten. In just a few years, with no advanced training of any kind,
Hoot could diagnose and fix any automobile problem. In his little town of
Wayton, Missouri everyone knew Hoot and Hoot knew everyone else. No one
knew how or why but Hoot only worked on Mercedes Benz cars. He didn't work
for a big dealer because he didn't have to. By word of mouth, Hoot was so
good with Mercedes cars, people from several states knew about his
abilities and brought him their Mercedes to be serviced. Hoot was so
knowledgeable about a car, in nearly every case, Hoot could sniff around a
car engine like a dog and tell what was wrong with the engine.
At the age of 34, Hoot
seemed to be happy and content. After he closed up his shop in the evening
he went home, cleaned up, headed for Momma Jo's restaurant for supper,
then over to the Firefly Inn for drinks and sports talk until ten o'clock.
Hoot was a part of a group laughingly called the Firefly Gang. Of course
they were not really a gang. They were just five guys who never married,
had no intention of getting married, and who hung out every night at the
Firefly. The Firefly gang had a little thing going on amongst themselves.
They had a motto: "No women, no marriage, no God." They all
referred to their motto as a code of conduct. They referred to their code
as "The Three No's."
On a sweltering August
afternoon, with the temp at 98 degrees and the humility about 95 percent,
Hoot was under the hood of a Mercedes out of St. Louis. There appeared in
Hoot's ear, a sound like a song-bird singing…a song-bird singing his
name. The sound was "Hooooot!" spoken with a sweet southern
drawl, sweet as honey on a hot buttered biscuit. Hoot pulled his head out
from under the hood and looked up toward the door of the shop. Wiping his
gushing perspiration away, Hoot saw a dream standing in the door of his
shop. Hoot saw Emily Louise Paxton. Emily had coal black hair, so black
and shiny, the sun made her hair look like diamonds were laced therein.
And those eyes…Emily had the kind of eyes that could draw out a man's
soul against his will. Normally, at least in normal moments, Hoot being
the confirmed Three No's guy he was, Hoot would see every kind of possible
fault in a woman. However, not today. Upon seeing Emily Louise, Hoot lost
his breath and brain. Although Hoot didn't believe in angels, Hoot was
having one of those moments when a man will believe anything is possible.
Emily Louise said "Hoooot, can y'all fix muh car?" with that
Georgia drawl again. Hoot could barely talk under Emily Louise's spell.
Normally, in normal times, Hoot would tell anyone who came in, he only
worked on Mercedes products. But today, all Hoot could choke out was
"Sure." Then Hoot's brain kicked in ever so slightly and Hoot
said, "What kind a car you got?" Emily Louise replied "Uh
1957 Chevy." Not only had this woman with black diamond hair, black
X-ray eyes, and a soul-melting drawl showed up in his shop, in the year
2010 she was driving a 1957 Chevy. Hoot's first car was an old 1957 Chevy
he picked up at the junk yard fifteen years ago. Hoot kept trying to think
"The Three No's" in his now-addled mind but with no success.
Hoot's heart, mind, and soul were experiencing something akin to a nuke
blast. So instead of his being able to tell himself "The Three
No's," all Hoot could come up with was "OK!" Hoot did
formulate a thought to ask "Where is the car?" Emily Louise
pointed toward the west side of the building and said "It's over
there." Hoot, who had so far been frozen in place under Emily
Louise's spell, thawed himself out long enough to say "OK, let's go
have a look." Trying to regain whatever composure he had left, Hoot
walked over to the side of the building to see the car. The car was a
carbon copy of the car Hoot had own years ago. Same color, same style,
same everything. The body and finish looked like the car was just off the
showroom floor. Hoot opened the driver's side door and looked at the
doorpost. Hoot saw what was unbelievable in unbelievable moments. Hoot saw
his initials scratched into the paint next to the car's I.D. plate. Hoot
had inscribed his initials on the doorpost right before he sold the car.
In his mind, Hoot said to himself, "It's my car. After all these
years, from someone who does not live in Missouri, my car comes back here.
Driven by a woman looking more like a goddess than a woman, I can't
believe it." Hoot reached down and pulled the hood latch knob to pop
the hood. Hoot looked under the hood he had been under countless times
before. Hoot saw oil leaks in serious places. Hoot said, "Miss, it is
going to take time to fix." Now at this point, Hoot's normal routine
is to call for a rental car at the town's lone car rental place, but not
this time. It seems Hoot totally forgot about the car rental franchise in
Emily Louise said, "Hoooot,
could yuh give me a lift over to the West Side Community Church? I'm
preachin' there tuhnight." Since Hoot's normal mind was now on blank,
Hoot said, not even thinking now about The Three No's or anything else,
"Sure. It's getting late and I need to close up the shop. If you are
hungry, we can go get a bite to eat." Emily Louise agreed. Hoot
walked back into his shop, and cleaned up as best he could. As fortune or
whatever would have it, Hoot had clean clothes from the dry cleaner at the
shop so he was at least presentable when he and Emily Louise went to eat.
The two lost track of
time during dinner and rushed over to the church after the left Momma
Jo's. Under normal times, Hoot would never set foot in a church. But Emily
Louise put on the Georgia drawl and said, "Hoooot! I'd be honored if
yuh came in to listen tuhnight." Poor Hoot, the man's whole life was
just being turned upside down. He was now nothing more than a melting dish
of ice cream in the hands of a young woman preacher. Of course Hoot said
his now normal "O.K."
Hoot went in and sat in
the church during the service. Hoot did not have a clue about what Emily
Louise said. He just sat there transfixed by Emily Louise's beauty and her
drawl. Hoot was not totally aware of his surroundings. After the service,
Hoot took Emily Louise home and they talked a bit. Hoot walked Emily
Louise to the door and they said good-night.
Hoot was going to head
over the Firefly but the hour was late. Hoot could not get her out of his
mind. Every so often Hoot would sort of "come to" and tell
himself he was nuts. But then he would lapse back into his state of being
Hoot got back to his
apartment. He sat in the car and began to think about his life. Being
honest about himself, Hoot admitted to himself his life was not as great
as he often tried to make it sound. Hoot admitted to himself he was
lonely. He had no connection to anyone other than the Firefly gang. He had
no wife, no children, and no family. His nights were spent in a dark
smoke-filled bar talking sports. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases,
Easters, and all the other holidays by himself…alone. This was no way to
live. Hoot was a kind, caring, gentle person with a wonderful spirit.
Hoot did a total rebuild
on the Chevy engine. Of course, Hoot took Emily anywhere she needed to go
during the week the car was in the shop. The story has a happy ending.
Hoot eventually came to his senses. Hoot accepted Christ a few months
later. After a wonderful courtship Emily Louise and Hoot were married. The
Firefly gang started breaking up when they all saw Hoot's happiness in
living "the other kind of life."
Although the characters,
times, and circumstances of this story are fiction, our God is not
fiction. It is a fact not fiction that our God brings people together in
all kinds of ways and circumstances.
Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the
hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (KJV)
You just never know how God is
going to do what God wants to do.
This message is
fiction and presented to bring you joy and good humor. The
message appeared in January, 2011, in the Virtual Church
web site at http://www.findthepower.com