It was Saturday morning, so I was paying my weekly visit to the Salvation Army Thrift Store in my never-ending search for used books. The aisle that I usually take was blocked by a woman and her three young children, so I took a detour to the bookcase where the top shelf contains Bibles and spiritual books.

I arrived there at the same instant one of my dad's former high school physics students got there. George then did something that is one of my favorite unexpected pleasures in life - he talked about my dad.

As with many of his former students, George mentioned Dad's intelligence first. He also told me that Mr. Koz also kept himself and his class on an even keel. Students respected him too much to be a behavior problem.

I also learned that Dad gave his students challenging physics problems to work out. He already knew the answer and probably knew a variety of methods at arriving at the answer, but he let his students figure it out for themselves and then praised them when they got it right.

At the end of our conversation, George and I noticed something about the top shelf of the book case. In addition to the spiritual reading, there was a three-volume set. The titles were "Physics Part I, Part II and Part III."

Dad - and Mother - could have given my siblings and me the answers to some of the problems we faced in growing up. Sometimes he did. Other times, though, he let us figure it out ourselves and then praised us when we got the right answer.

This was true for academic subjects and social issues, but it was especially true for spiritual matters. Dad's faith in God was even greater than his intelligence.

I hope one day to get to ask him if I got the right answer to the ultimate question - did I love God and others as much as I should have?

I suppose if I see Dad, I will have already gotten the answer I hoped for. If that's the case, I plan to ask him how those physics books got in with the Bibles and inspirational works.

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The hand of God leaves

fingerprints in unexpected places.