Friday, June 17, 2011

A Tired Dad and a Coca-Cola

My husband told me about a memory from his childhood, about a dad, a truck driver who looked very weary. Dave said he was about 12 and was with his dad at the Houston port to fill six barrels with molasses for their dairy farm. They were paying for their molasses inside an office where truck drivers came to finish their paperwork.

            The trucking office had a habit of giving each semi-truck driver a cold Coca Cola, the ones in the thick greenish glass bottles. The cool drink helped to somewhat offset the blistering summer heat and sometimes 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.

            One driver had a wife and child with him. In 1960, the 18 wheelers were not what they are today. In 2011, some of the over-the-road trucks have luxury walk-in sleepers. They have sleeping berths designed as a bedroom or it can be transformed into a sitting area. The trucks have power steering, air conditioning, and room to drive comfortably.

The cabs of yesteryear were small, little more than a few feet wide. Just steering a truck around town on a humid Houston day would be enough to cause most to look for a job elsewhere. The single cot-size sleep area could be accessed by climbing through an opening between the cab and sleeper, that opening a bit larger than a backdoor welcome mat.

            Back to the dad in the freight office, he asked if he could buy an additional cola and he paid two bottle deposits. Dave, even at 12-years-old noticed how tired the man seemed. He then watched as the thoughtful driver walked out to his truck and gave one cold drink to his wife and one to his child, taking none for himself.

            Too often we do forget the hard work that dads do: the earnings, the long hours, the sleepless nights when bills to grocer, doctor, repairmen and such don't match the income. Also, men often sacrifice their health so their wife and kids can live a more comfortable life. And for the most part they aren't whiners; they don't want any recognition and awards. They simply appreciate respect and love from the ones they are honor bound to shield.

            A Nomadic tribe says that a woman is the tent pole. If women are the tent pole, 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 men who faithfully provide for their families, whether they work at computers and desks or at the helm of draglines digging gravel pits.

            The words of this week’s memory verse come from Amos, a shepherd called from among the sheep to tend to people. Remember, most dads just want to be hugged and thanked for the many cold cups of water they’ve handed to us over the years.

            Happy Father’s Day!    

            Index Card Verse for Week 24: “Seek the LORD and live” (Amos 5:6).

1 comment:

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