The Old Green Truck


Deer, Big Cypress

My post from yesterday made me begin to ponder pride and I thought about other times that mine has caused me to feel bad or to make others feel bad (or both).  This brought to mind an old green truck.

As I have mentioned before my dad was a commercial fisherman and stone crabber for most of my childhood.  It was seasonal; there were some times of feast or famine and I even remember once when my stay-at-home mom had to get a part-time job to help out when Dad suffered with a ruptured disc in his back.  I think Dad’s pride hurt more than his back did then as mom had never worked, but that’s another story.

This story stars an ugly old green truck with multiple compartments on the sides.  I don’t remember where my dad got it or why, but I hated it.  It was the ugliest old truck I had ever seen in my life.

Dad worked hard, but on the days he got home early enough, one of his favorite things to do was to load his family up and go for an early evening ride on one of the neighboring dirt roads.  My brother and sister lived for this kind of stuff as they got to ride in the back and let their hair whip in the wind.  I enjoyed it too, but I didn’t want anyone to know that.  I think I was around 12 and maybe hormones played a part; maybe I was just a brat.

We would all pile into the truck with me finagling a way to ride in the front when I could.  Many times I got my way since my brother and sister actually wanted to be in the back.  Our first stop would be at Mrs. Watson’s general store about a mile (if that) from our house.   One of the highlights of stopping here was talking to Mrs. Watson’s mina bird, Sam.  The other highlight was the candy.

Dad would get his beverage of choice and we always got to pick our favorite candy.  Mom would always tell us we were silly if we got anything other than chocolate (her favorite).  My sister would usually get chocolate too, but my brother and I often ended up with wax candy bottles filled with juice, gobstoppers, or Laffy taffy.  My sister says we always wanted what she had, but I don’t remember this.  I will have to take her word for it.  Often, we would all get Astro Pops.  Remember those?  I learned an interesting fact about them today.  They were created by Rocket Scientists working on the space program in El Segundo, CA who decided to quit their jobs at Rocketdyne and create the Astro Pop®, modeling the pop after a three-stage rocket.  They were very pointed and had wax around the bottom.  We used these to poke each other after we licked the tips until they were even sharper than they came.   We had to be very discreet about our pokes.

After talking to whoever we might have encountered there, we were off for our backroads drive.  Dad would crank up his country tunes and make me sing along and we would see our share of wild animals and a beautiful sunset.  My husband and I take the same drive sometimes and I now understand why it was so relaxing to my parents.

The part of this memory that brings me pain is my hatefulness about the old truck.  I remember one time in particular that I really did not want to go on one of these outings; I wanted to be left behind at home.  I made up every reason in the world, but my dad finally discerned that I was embarrassed to be seen in the old truck.  He was absolutely correct, even though I denied it vehemently.  I remember the look on his face when that realization set in that his eldest daughter didn’t want to be discovered in the old green truck by one of her friends.   I don’t remember the outcome on that day, but I am 99% sure, knowing my dad, that my high-and-mighty little backside was parked in the back of the truck with the rest of the family.

When I look back, my despicable behavior was rooted in pride; the same pride that caused me not to want to be seen at church in yard shoes.  Looking back, of course it was incredibly silly as I know none of my friends would have thought any less of me and probably would have loved to be doing the same thing with their family.

Surely I am not the only one who had these types of struggles and I am thankful that I have learned from them by the help and grace of God.    I try to be transparent here in hopes that perhaps something I say may resonate with someone or spur a conscience.  It is a great truth that if we can learn from our mistakes, there is potential for growth in our character.  The lessons we learn can be considered a gift that keeps on giving.


It’s a bad day, not a bad life

Flowers in NC park

The alarm woke me up angrily as if to say there is no time to spare, not another blink of sleep is to occur on my watch!  The door reached out to clobber me in the side of my head as I dragged a less than cooperative body to the bathroom.  The water was cold as it bitterly splashed my awakening skin, and my eyes simply refused to focus properly; then the scale was particularly hateful.

Off to the kitchen where the red light on my keurig flashed impatiently, shouting, “refresh me or else”!

Finally seated in front of my computer, I attempted to begin my work day.  Of course on days like this, fingers fail to move where your mind tells them to go and logins are incorrect.

It was as if my blood pressure was rising while my patience was waning and it wasn’t yet 6:00am.

As the day schlepped on, ever so slowly, it was one irritating thing after another.  There was the way my bank (for reasons still unclear to me) locked out my online banking feature, and the only way that I could prove that I truly was who I proclaimed to be was by me knowing the amount and date of my very last transaction.

This may seem a walk in the park to you, but since I was dealing with my hubby’s business account, I knew my getting this right was as likely as him remembering to tell me he even used the card; therefore, highly unlikely.  I was so amazed when the last receipt he had thrown in a crumpled up pile on the counter actually matched.  I could have cried tears of joy!  Yes!  I had received my first miracle of the day.

Even after this turn of events, my mood continued to darken and my appetite threatened to destroy my resolve against all things unhealthy.  My husband and daughter felt the tumultuous waves of my hormonal raging.  I even had to make one apology…harrumph!

About this time one of my co-workers and I were discussing a timeline for a future fix and something she said shook my resolve to be angry today.  I made a negative comment and she said, “hey, you’re always the positive one”.  Ouch!  God was showing me, crystal clear, that my attitude needed adjusting.  But, I didn’t heed at that point; I was too deep in the yuck-mode.

Later, once I got off work and sat basking in the afternoon sun, remembering that today is my Friday, I looked back on today and actually smiled.  Okay, I admit it was one of those wimpy, embarrassed smiles, but it was a smile nonetheless.

Somehow, at that point, I quickly repented for my negativity and forced myself to realize (once again)  all that I have to be thankful for in life.  I heard the words, “it’s a bad day, not a bad life” resonate from somewhere deep within.

Yes, I can blame SOME of it on hormones, but this selfishness, thinking it’s all about me, forgetting the blessings, is something I feel I will be blogging about over and over until I get it.  And, then maybe I will continue until others get it as well.  If you’ve had a bad day, get alone somewhere quiet, say a prayer, read a verse, breath in and out and begin to count those blessings.  It will do you good!

Mitch Teemley

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