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Tales of a Hay Hauler: From fish to ghosts

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Columns - Brad Nelson
Wednesday, 11 August 2010 00:00

A fellow once told me that in the course of hiring a new truck driver he made a point of walking by the man’s personal vehicle and looking inside.

“How a person takes care of his/her own vehicle tells me a lot about how that person is going to take care of my truck,” he said.

We all have to make judgment calls. The trick is to go about living life without being “judgmental.”

I once had a set of tapes titled, “The History of Country Music.” They started with music and artists of the 1920s and brought the history up through what are currently seen as “golden oldies” of the 1960s and 1970s. One of the stars told of visiting relatives in Memphis, Tennessee, and while there having the son of the family ask him to come outside and help his friend tune his guitar. The young boy was not allowed in the house because he lived “on the wrong side of the railroad tracks.” The star showed him how to tune his guitar and then had him tune it himself to be sure he understood what he was doing. The boy’s name was Elvis Presley. Of course, the rest is history.

A fellow stopped at the only store in a small town and asked directions to a good place to fish.

“What are you fishing for?” asked the storekeeper.

“It don’t matter.”

“Then it don’t much matter which pond around here you drop a hook in.”

If you will be just as happy with catfish and carp, then any drain ditch will do. If bass or rainbow trout are what you would like to catch, then you need to find a spot to sink your hook where these species live. By the way, I have seen trout caught in a drain ditch, but it is not prudent to bank on “the exception” to the rule.

I’ll admit to reading the “Dear Abby” advice columns. Oftentimes the cause and solution to a problem is a no-brainer. The complaint: “My boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife drinks too much. So did the previous one.” Where are they meeting these people? In a bar. What are these people thinking?

The next question is, do they even listen to the answer “Dear Abby” gives? Generally, that answer is to go fish in a different pond. (For example, “fish” for a significant other at a church social rather than at “happy hour” at the pub.)

About the time I got married, a fellow I was working with told an interesting tale. I was driving ready-mix concrete trucks in the summer while attending college. Most of the other drivers were rather “rough around the edges” to put it mildly. The story was that this fellow had offered a proposal of marriage to a girl he met in a bordello. She refused to consider it. When he pressed her for a reason, she simply said that she would never be able to trust him.

When I called home to let my parents know that I had found the love of my life, one of the first things Dad asked was what her family was like. I told him that they were pretty much just working stiffs like we were. Dad was pleased. He told me that he had seen serious problems when a “working stiff” marries a girl whose family has lots of money.

There are exceptions to the rule, but don’t bank on it. Like the man looking into the personal vehicle of a fellow who was asking him for a job – look into the life of a potential mate deep enough to see how they take care of themselves because it will mirror how well they will take care of you.

I commented to my wife the other evening, as we turned out the light in our bedroom and I held her in my arms, how wonderful it was that we were alone, that there were no “ghosts” in bed with us. I wish everyone could experience that same joy in their relationships.  PD


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