Through the years Papaw had a fascination with Cervantes and his fictional character Don Quixote de la Mancha. Why would Papaw identify with such a crazy, fictional character? Maybe because the amazing ideals of Don Quixote lived again through our Daddy and Grandfather L. Haven Miller. This is an excerpt from the first page of an abridged copy of Don Quixote de la Mancha.
He was an honest man, tall, very thin, almost fifty years old [almost 100]… Besides going out to hunt [for garage sales], he liked to read books about knighthood [people living out the highest of ideals], and to them he dedicated all of his free time, which he had in abundance. He involved himself so much in his reading that he completely neglected the administration of his house and property and his hunting trips.[notes added for metaphorical clarification]
His passion for books about knighthood led him to sell tracts of land [used cars], with the goal of buying all the books that he could find.
He was amazed by the heroic deeds those pages recounted, and he put forth great effort to understand every last detail of the prose.
He would spend days on end, from sun up to sun down and the wee hours of the morning bottled up in his reading.
Sometimes he talked about all he read with the town’s priest, a learned man, or with barber. With them he would argue about who was the most valiant knight.
The book goes on to tell how Quixote saw the world through different eyes [kingdom eyes], and he helped people put on those glasses and open their eyes to the world from a higher spiritual plane in the midst of their misery; fight the unbeatable foe and right the un-rightable wrong.
Papaw believed that Cervantes used Don Quixote to embody the person of Christ in a culture and time where overt biblical teaching resulted in legal condemnation. This Christ-like figure was made into a example the Spanish could identify with at all levels of society. We could all say Papaw lived as Christ in a culturally appropriate way to many people. Thank God for such a man.