Enoch drove an International Harvester 4X4 Scout which was most of the pay provided him by the man and lady of the house for his services twelve to sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. The Scout plus licensing and insurance and one $500 gift each Christmas.

Other than these things, Enoch covered his own expenses. He paid for his lunches and slept each night in a bedroom with an exterior entrance that was attached to the house he used to own. He’d sold the house to a young couple in his Baptist church, I’m sure at a wonderful price. The main requirement had been that they agreed to allow Enoch to sleep in his bedroom as long as he lived.

A confession. One day, I was running an errand in Enoch’s Scout. He was back at the estate and I was down in Manchester driving toward town center on School Street. There about thirty yards in front of me, I saw a scrawny dog puttering down the sidewalk flush with the right curb of the very narrow street. Typical in New England, the roadway was narrow, the sidewalks were within a couple feet of the passing cars, and the house fronts were just a few feet behind the sidewalks.

The Scout had an annoying habit of backfiring and I’d figured out how to trigger it. As we approached the dog, I took my foot off the accelerator, turned off the ignition, and let the Scout build compression in its carburetors. Then, just as I reached the dog, I flipped on the ignition and the Scout let out a sharp explosion halfway between a Black Cat and a Cherry Bomb.

The kaboom scared that poor dog senseless. It occured just three or four feet from him. He had been minding his own business, and then the world exploded right next to him.

He jumped ten feet in the air. His feet were splayed in all directions. His tongue hung sideways from his mouth and his eyes communicated abject terror.

Watching the dog, I howled with laughter. It was mean. I was mean. I’m happy to report it was somewhat out of character for me, but there it is.

Worse than my cruelty to the dog, though, was my resultant theft. From the moment of the explosion, the muffler’s core was shot, but instead of owning up to my responsibility, I took the car back to Enoch and told him something was wrong with his muffler. He paid for its repair.

And there you see what kind of a friend I was to Enoch. Once.

To my shame.

The Bible tells me Jesus died for this sin. I cling to it.

(To be continued.)

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