Our little country road was at the outskirts of the Village of Barboursville in West Virginia. Since we didn't own a car because my parents didn't drive, it was nothing for us to walk the mile to town to do business. Whether it was going to the bank and post office or heading to the grocers or hardware store, we loved walking up town.
I remember summer Saturdays so well. Daddy loved to walk up to Brady's hardware store and I loved going with him. Brady's has everything you can imagine and more. Their old hardwood floors were stained with years of paint samples and scuff marks.
My daddy was a very well respected and well loved man in this little Village. He worked at the local C & O rail yard and did odd carpenter jobs occasionally on the side. We had been walking up Main Street for so many years that just about everybody in town knew us. They would sit on their front porches and wave and some would walk out to the sidewalk to chat awhile.
One thing that I always remember was how every car that would pass would toot their horn at Daddy. He would flash his handsome smile, raise up a hand in hello, and shout "Hey, Bud!" toward their open window.
I remember one day, when I was about 7 or 8, we had passed about 6 or 7 vehicles of guys Daddy worked with. We received the traditional "toot toot" of the horn and Daddy had responded with his normal "Hey Bud!" I remember looking up and innocently remarking "Wow Daddy, you sure know a lot of men named Bud." I remember him laughing and saying "I never could remember names so I just call everybody Bud."
To this day, I will remember his laughter and his smile. Daddy has been gone 12 years come next week. I still miss walking up town with him. When I go home to visit, as I drive to Mom's and I pull onto Main Street, I still find myself watching the street to see if I see Daddy walking up town. I get a little catch in my throat and a little tear in my eye when I remember, he's no longer here. But I know he's in a much better place and knowing Daddy, he spends his days walking the streets of heaven, tossing a wave at his neighbors and shouting out a friendly "Hey Bud!" to everyone he meets.