My mom drove up this past week, and surprised me with a dozen boxes of my dad’s books. My older brothers got his tools, but that’s ok. He and I and didn’t have a good relationship until near the end, but he loved reading and that was one of our points of connection.

I now have, in addition to some cool old Ford and John Deere manuals, the complete works of Zane Grey, Louis L’amour, and his set of the Everyman’s library.

My mom apologized that some of the books have grease stains from his lunch-break reading, but that’s exactly how I wanted them. Like many of us, I only appreciated the depth and complexity of this “uneducated” mechanic once he was gone.