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One day a boy came to his father and said, "Dad, it’s just six weeks before I will be going to college and I was wondering if you were going to give me a going-away present. If you are, I have a suggestion to make." The father smiling answered, ’What is your suggestion, son?" The boy’s eyes sparkled as he replied, "Dad, could you find me a second hand Ford? One that I could take with me and paint the sides crazy-like?" Still smiling, the father replied, "Wouldn’t you rather have a brand-new Ford? One that nobody else has ever owned?" The boy’s eyes grew wide with excitement at the thought. "Could I have a new one, Dad? Could you afford it?" Thoughtfully the father answered, "Maybe you can, but I’ll not promise you definitely today."

The next night when the father came in from the office, he brought the boy a book and asked him to read every page of it as a personal favor. The leaves of the book had not yet been cut. (Years ago, books were bound in a fanfold style where when bound together, every other page on it’s outer edge was left uncut. You had to cut them yourself.) The father emphasized the fact. "Cut them as you read them."

A week went by before the son asked his dad about the car. Immediately the father asked him about the book. How far had he read? "Only about half of it," he replied. Once more the father said, "Son, please read it all just as soon as you can." The boy went to his room and read awhile. As the days went by the son asked his father repeatedly about the car. Every time the father answered, "I haven’t quite made up my mind. How about the book.?" Each time the son would say, "I’ll go read right away.

Then came the last night before college opened, and the boy sat down on the arm of his father’s chair. Seriously he said, "Dad, I don’t understand you this time. You and I have always been such pals and have always been so frank with each other. Tell me why I didn’t get the car." The father responded, "Son, go bring me the book that I asked you to read." The boy stammered as he handed it over to his dad, "Dad, I read all but the last few pages."

The father took out his knife and cut the remaining uncut pages in the back of the book. From between two of those pages a check made out to a local car dealership slipped out and fluttered to the floor. It was payment in full for a brand new Ford. The boy...

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