The Old Man and the Lincoln
For the past few days, my old life lesson of the Old Man and the Lincoln keeps coming to mind. It is the embarrassing tale of my lack of character under pressure. I know you are thinking, “What! Lloyd, you’re the guy always preaching about the importance of electing political candidates of character.” You are correct. I am a flawed human being which is why I needed Jesus as my savior.
This incident happened almost 20 years ago and yes, I was a Christian.
Succinctly, I quite my job at a TV station to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. Mary and I fell upon extremely challenging financial times. In need of a car and broke financially, friends sold us their old Lincoln cheap. They disclosed that the car had an oil leak which could be easily fixed.
Well even after a major automotive chain’s several attempts, the stubborn leak continued. We went back and forth with the auto repair shop including threatening to take them to small claims court.
Meanwhile, I got the phone call of my dreams. An entertainment company based in Orlando caught wind of me and offered me a job. We would have to sell our home in Maryland and relocate to Florida.
Mary and I concluded that the Lincoln would never make the 1200 mile trip and we should sell it. An elderly gentleman answered our ad and we agreed to meet at a fast food restaurant.
Folks, we were desperate for money and to dump the problematic car. We are an interracial couple and the old man was white. I did not know his feelings about race and did not want to risk anything blowing the deal. So, I thought it best that Mary deliver the car and I would follow in our other extremely old car. I read somewhere that men like women wearing bright colors. My beautiful blue-eyed blond wife went to meet our prospective buyer wearing a bright red dress.
I watched the old man look over our Lincoln, then get into his car and drive off. Mary followed in the Lincoln. I followed assuming they were headed to his home which was close by to make the cash and title exchange. He pulled into his pristine driveway.
This was before cell phones so I tried to communicate with Mary telepathically, “Don’t park in his driveway! Don’t park in his driveway!” She parked in his driveway.
Mary stayed in the old man’s home so long, I began to worry. Finally, she hopped in the car with me waving $3000 in cash. We cheerfully high-fived each other. Mary shared that he was a wonderful man who really liked her. Obviously lonely, he showed her a few family albums while sharing happy memories. His wife who was the love of his life was in a nursing home. He planned to use the Lincoln for his daily trips to visit her.
We lived about an hour or so away from the old man. Upon our arrival home, our phone was ringing off the hook. It was the old man. “Mr Marcus, that car is leaking oil sump-in fierce! Can I get my money back?”
Folks, his call slapped me back to reality. Suddenly, I was overcome with overwhelming shame. What the heck was I thinking? This is NOT who we are, nor how we were raised. I felt like I had sold my character and soul for a mere $3000. I replied, “Yes sir, of course we will return your money.”
Dr Wayne Dyer said when you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out because that is what’s inside. When life (financial pressure) squeezed me, deceit and self centered-ness came out.
Upon hanging up the phone, I could not stand the sight of that money. I could not wait to return the old man’s money. He thanked us. We asked God’s forgiveness.
Happy Easter folks. Jesus gave His life to save sinners like me and you. This song of mine feels appropriate: