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My husband, David, told me about a very tired truck driver dad. Twelve at the time, David was with his dad at the Houston port to buy six barrels of molasses for their dairy farm. They were paying for their purchase inside an office where truck drivers came to finish their paperwork.
The trucking office would give each semi-truck driver a cold Coca Cola, in a thick green glass bottle. The cool drink helped offset the blistering summer heat and long waits to get loaded or unloaded. Drivers could drink it in the office or pay the bottle deposit and take the refreshing drink with them.
This particular driver had a wife and child in his truck. In 1959, the 18 wheelers were not what they are today. In 2008, some of the long haul trucks have luxury walk-in sleepers and the berths can transform into a sitting area. Now, trucks have power steering, air-ride seats, air conditioning and room to drive comfortably.
Truck cabs of yesteryear were small and rarely air conditioned. Just steering a truck around town on a humid Houston day might cause the toughest man to long for a different job. The single, cot-size sleep area could only be accessed by climbing through an opening between the cab and sleeper, the entry a bit larger than a welcome mat.
Back to the dad in the freight office, he asked if he could buy an additional Coke and then paid two bottle deposits. My husband, even as young as he was, noticed the driver’s weariness, perspiration, slumping shoulders. He then watched as the dad went to his truck and gave one cold drink to his wife and one to his child.
Too often we forget the hard work that dads do: the long hours, the sleepless nights when bills to grocer, doctor, repairmen and such don't match income. Their health may even be compromised so the wife and kids can live a more comfortable life. And for the most part they aren't whiners. They don't want hero awards. They just want respect and love from the ones they are honor bound to shield.
A Nomadic tribe says that a woman is the tent pole. If they are, then the men are the fabric that protects and holds it all together. They provide security and courage and literally lay down their lives daily for their families.
I have a very soft spot in my heart for labor intensive work that men do, whether they work at computers or at the helm of draglines digging gravel pits.
Give thanks for your dad. Remember most dads just want to be hugged and thanked for what they supply. And give them an additional kiss on the cheek for those extras, the times they handed their icy colas to you.
Many thanks, dads, and Happy Father’s Day.