I’m thinking of eggplant parmesan for dinner. Crickets, cicadas...sounds of deep summer. A dove song…
The truck driver:
One early Friday morning in April of last year, 2017, I get a phone call from a friend, she tells me that she woke up with an idea that maybe Iâ€™d be compatible with a dear friend of hers.
This friend of mine had been performing something of a matchmaking service for her friend, Teri.
Single, a long haul truck driver, who the previous year, had sold his home, put all his worldly possessions in a storage locker, and seen his only son off to college, had no real intention of getting tangled up with a woman.
Life is funny.
I had been married once before, close to married another time.Â The last thing on my mind was that I would meet and connect with a woman as quickly as I did, this girl.
The matchmaker sent me a picture and told me that if I like, I could find her at the Boulder farmerâ€™s market on Saturday morning at 8am.Â She could be easily identified by the flat green wagon she pulled.Â Having been out on the road for about 2 years now, my empty nest story and newÂ career story, selling my homeÂ story had kind of settled down.Â Life was pretty good.
An over the road truck driver being in a relationship?Â Is that possible?
I was open to the idea.
Life had become pretty damn good for me and I was open to that idea.
This would be fun.
I never saw myself as staying single for too long.Â Would I be interested in going to this Boulder farmers market and introducing myself to this stranger?
You bet.Â So I did.
Legally, â€œhomeâ€, had become Longmont, my sistersâ€™ house.
I told my sister of my plan to go to the market and would she give me a ride to the bus stop and I could catch the bus down to Boulder on Saturday morning.
I got up early that day, got the bus ride, got to the market.
As this was one of the first markets of the season, there were few people and it didnâ€™t take long to see that green flat top wagon.
And then I saw her.
She was speaking with a vendor face to face.Â Not the right time for me to make my move.Â I walked past them both.Â Doubling back after a bit, I saw her again. Again, she was speaking with a different vendor.Â Argh!Â Dammit! Now Iâ€™m practically stalking her.Â In an effort to not be caught in stalker-like behavior, I grab a bunch of onions, cover my face as she walks by.
Finally, the right moment comes and I introduced myself to her.Â My first words were something complimentary of her wagon. Smoothâ€¦
We went to her truck and sat on the tailgate, speaking for just one half hour.Â With my stomach twirling around and my head somewhat in the clouds, it was time to say goodbye.
She had to go do what she does.
I just about walked off smiling, head in the clouds, thinking, golly, that was neat, thank god she asks me if I would like her phone number, â€œOh, yes!â€ with a guffaw, Â and I asked her for her whole name. Â We exchange contact information.
A mention of some restaurant by the matchmaker and now having a full name I think, Iâ€™ll do a little internet research, case net, etc, Â find out who this person is.Â The moment I enter her name for the search, a flood of information about the restaurant, art by Teri, and more pops up.Â The first link I click on; an article,Â 20 year anniversary of the restaurant something or other, I see an image of her and her father, two, open, beaming, smiling faces together. This image somehow speaks to me.Â I close down the search, I think I have all the information I need for now.
I will get the rest directly from her, over time.
In those first couple weeks, we texted, which quickly turned into talking.Â Then somehow, this long haul trucker, who before visiting the Boulder Farmers Market this early April Saturday morning,Â rarely making it into the Denver area, finds himself being dispatched to Denver every weekend.
I guess it was 3 weeks after that first meeting that I joked with her, â€œDo I need to pay the matchmaker with a chicken or some animal for services rendered?â€Â Â The girl says no, a goat.
That was funny.Â I took her seriously.
So, after some discussion with the matchmaker, research on goat suppliers and goat delivery schemes, I arranged to provide a goat through some non- profit international organization to make payment.
Sealed the deal.Â 1 goat received in payment
Saturday morning.Â I picked him up at the truck stop last night atÂ 8pm.Â He drove 3000 miles last week, exhausted and happy to be home, I went to work.
We leave at 6am on Sunday morning heading for Houston. Together.Â 34 hours after he gets out of his truck.Â Time to sleep, do laundry, grocery shop, restock and spend a couple hours at the house.
I donâ€™t understand a company that demands this schedule.Â I often ask, why not 48 hours?Â A person canâ€™t possibly sleep, take care of themselves, their families, their homes in 34 hours a week.
Wouldnâ€™t people stay with the job longer, less turnover if it allowed for this?
Our culture demands this, itâ€™s not the company, really.
There arenâ€™t enough truck drivers to quench our insatiableÂ thirst for stuff that needs to be shipped from one place to another.
I wonder if most people ever think further than that these big trucks drive up and down the highways being scary and intimidating.
Heading for Waller, Texas.Â This is a small â€œtownâ€ outside of Houston.
A few of my favorite things on the road, in the big truckâ€¦
-our dinner together.
I pull out my stuff, a cutting board, cheese, tortillas.Â He pulls out soups for both of us and his stuff, sweet potato, carrots, apple, pear, crackers.Â I also have an apple, a tangerine and a few dates.Â Anyway. I climb up onto my seat on the bed, the workspace is there too.Â He heats my soup first, then his.Â I make a quesadilla and we sit back there together.Â He sits on the bucket or in his camp chair. A sweet moment together in our bubble.
-Before he climbs into his bunk at night and when he gets up in the morning, he lays down in my bunk next to me and we look at each other.Â He kisses me, we talk and we take a few minutes to connect.
-Drivingâ€¦we talk and laugh and watch the landscape as it rolls slowly by in our big windshield.
-This morning we took showers in Amarillo, Texas.Â This shower, like the first shower after a camping trip, was just glorious!
Weâ€™re â€œrollinâ€ now and headed for Houston.Â He says, â€œthis is the big part of Texas, you can see a long way out here.â€
What I am learning is there is so much to see in this country.Â We are driving by one thing after another that Iâ€™ve never seen before.Â If we stopped to take a closer look at everything we find fascinating, weâ€™d never get to our destination.
We drive through one tiny town after anotherâ€¦each filled with vacant buildings.
â€œthatâ€™s why I love driving through hereâ€¦itâ€™s like driving throughÂ history, a time machine.â€ He says.
Cotton country.Â Big bales of cotton.Â Farm stands, not selling anything this time of year.
More buildings falling down than standing up.Â