>In light of Father’s Day, I thought I would honor my Dad by making him the topic of my latest blog. Before I receive any phone calls from concerned readers who think I have finally let high school students get to me and have gone off the deep end, I don’t think my Dad is really Jesus. Not technically, anyway.
My Dad is a truck driver. Last time I checked Jesus was a carpenter, but it’s close enough to the burly-blue collar male persona every man wants to emulate. Except, honestly, there really isn’t anything burly or even blue collar about him. He’s very tall and very skinny, for one thing. Just by looking at him, you couldn’t tell he could lift very much. He doesn’t have any tattoos. He doesn’t smoke. He HATES beer. To the chagrin of his four daughters, he uses the phrase,” you, dog” in place of obscenities. My Dad may possibly be the most alien truck driver you have ever met. I went to work with him several months ago, actually, and got to witness first-hand how weird my Dad actually is.
My Dad takes monthly drives to Boston where his company is based and is forever looking for a passenger to accompany him to make the all-inclusive 8-12 hour ride with the bribe of the open road and a Friendly’s sundae. I’m usually the sucker who says yes. Granted, my other sisters generally fall asleep in the first hour and don’t make very good company. I, on the other hand, cannot sleep in the car let alone the rig of a tractor trailer and tend to chat incessantly the whole way until my throat hurts and we have to stop to get some coffee. Which, truthfully, serves the both of us- I get to talk uninterrupted all about my grand ideas for my next novel or my philosophies on life or about the genre my album would be placed under, if I, in fact, ever record one and he gets to pay attention to something other than road kill and not fall asleep at the wheel.
It’s in the rig where my Dad seems most normal to me. Shifting the ten-speed, complaining about the traffic that was inevitable on Rt. 84 by Hartford, drinking old coffee out of a styrofoam cup, dreaming about plots of land in Florida and pointing out motorcycles. In the rig, being a truck driver fits my Dad who hasn’t purchased a tie since bolos were cool, gets uncomfortable when he sits in one room for too long and whose hands look like they could palm hot coals and not feel a thing. It’s when we get to Boston when I realize what an anomaly my Father truly is.
Surrounded by men less than half his size (but double in girth) donning filthy Red Sox caps and greasy tee shirts, my Dad sticks out like a sore thumb. They all smile congenially when we show up, gap-toothed and broken bridges stained with years of strongly brewed coffee during the day, strongly brewed something else after hours, I’m sure. They all seem to have ruddy cheeks like they’ve been standing firm in a wind storm at the Patriot’s game just before we got there. They have hearty belly laughs coming from hearty bellies that make me wonder how they get in and out of their trucks and if they rest their coffee cups on them while shifting gears. They call my Dad all kinds of names that make my cheeks burn- apparently they haven’t picked up on the “you,dog” quite yet-but he just laughs it off and playfully punches one of them in the arm.
The whole warehouse smells like days old coffee, Brut aftershave, the chemicals they were loading into my Dad’s truck, and, well, man dirt. Yes, man dirt is what I said. You know what I mean. Running to the bathroom, I nearly knocked off a sign hanging on the door made out of a flap of an old cardboard box declaring,” If you just have to piss, please use the urinal” and I wonder as I contemplated whether I should attempt the urinal or not just for kicks how my Dad who counts “piss” as a vial four-letter word works here with these people and seems to whole-heartedly enjoy it.
And then, I get it. I’m working on this concept on how everybody has a little bit of Jesus in them. I’m not talking about how “Jesus lives in your heart,” and all that sunday school stuff, but how we as Christ-followers exhibit certain qualities that Jesus walked around with. All of us. So, my Dad’s kinda like Jesus.
He loves to be surrounded by people that other’s have deemed “a little rough around the edges.” The jokes we would have gotten a serious lecture for if he heard any one of us kids tell them, he uses as an in to ask his co-workers other personal questions about their lives. You know that my Dad knows each and everyone of those truck driver’s wives names? And their kids? And if they had mistresses, I bet he knows them too. He knows where they live. He knows where they went to college, or if they never did he knows the reason why. He knows whose going through a divorce, who just lost a child, who’s struggling financially, who’s kid just got accepted into Boston University and who got season tickets to the Sox-then teases them about it.
My Dad never judges them. The way they dress, the way they talk, the way they live. He just happens to met them where they are and really love them. The dirt, the warehouse chemicals and all. That’s Jesus. That’s the kind of Jesus I’d like to be.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.