A Soft Underbelly

We’ve been busy on the farm, but mostly with things that are completely normal – making hay, feeding cows, horses, chickens and pigs – although we did have another little one born Sunday. We found this one right away and he got his earring. : )

I wanted to share a story today that I’d told a few years ago around Christmas time. This is from before we moved to Virginia:

I promised a few weeks ago that I would talk more about one of our drivers. He used to drive for us, but had to quit because he has Parkinson’s disease and the meds he has to take are the kind where you can’t operate heavy equipment. The state pulled his CDL. Which was devastating to him. He’d been a working man all his life, earning a living driving trucks, and now, suddenly, he was sick, with no job and no skills to get another one.

He has his Parkinson’s under control and we hired him back a while ago to run parts for us and do some light work in the garage. 

At our company Christmas party, he’d brought his grandson, and about halfway through the evening, I found myself sitting at a table alone with our driver, watching his grandson play in the corn box and chatting about life and stuff.

Now, this driver, I have to say, is everything you’d think a “bad boy” would be. He’s got the tattoos and the chains and the attitude. The prison record and the messed up family. The temper and the vocabulary to match it. He rules with an iron fist – I saw his grandson practically turn mid-air when our driver called his name in “that tone.” But I also have no doubt he loves his grandson and is as proud as anyone could be of him.

Anyway, I talk to him pretty much every day – we just chatted today over the burritos that my daughter had made for lunch.

Like I said, though, he’s what I would consider a definite “bad boy” and we don’t usually talk about mushy gushy stuff, if you know what I mean.

But, as we sat alone at the table together at the Christmas party, he was telling me a couple of truck driving stories, then he talked some about the deer (notice I spelled it right!!) he’d shot and the bob cats he’d killed and the places he’d hunted – legally and illegally – then he lapsed into silence for a minute. I’m not a great conversationalist, better at listening than talking, and I was trying to think of something to say, when he spoke. A little softer. Not quite as bold.

He said how much he appreciated our family. How great it had been to watch our boys grow up into men. How he loved working with them. And how he really liked being around us. How there was something different about our family, something special that made him feel good. He thanked us for cooking for him every day and for having him in to eat. He said he wasn’t used to eating with a family like that, but he liked it. 

It doesn’t really take much to render me speechless, but yeah, he’d really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting this tough as nails old guy, that even our other drivers gave the side-eye to, to show a soft underbelly. (I’ll have to tell you sometime about the gay truck driver we employed for a while. Not kidding. He and I had some fantastic conversations about religion and politics and love and work. We disagreed on pretty much everything, but, man, I loved that guy. He was definitely a bad boy, but he’d also get mushy, and that didn’t surprise me.) 

But yeah, our driver’s grandson came over and we started talking about other things, but it made me think about assumptions we make and how we don’t realize how the things we do affect people. Even people that we might think are hard. Maybe unfeeling and uncaring, too. I guess we all have feelings, right? And we all want to be loved and accepted, even bad boys. Maybe especially bad boys?

And of course, I, being a romantic at heart, think that most of what this fellow needs is a good woman to love him. 

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week. : )

Hugs and blessings,

Jessie🌻

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