Few things add color to a vocabulary like attempting to leap over a puddle of grayish gooey mud and landing ankle-deep smack in the mess. Still fewer things exercise one's patience like attempting to close a large trailer door in strong winds and driving rain, only to have a great gust suddenly sweep the door back and nearly knock you on your tea set in the aforementioned icky stuff. And if that doesn't challenge a proper temperament, the knowledge that conditions will only get worse during the impending trip to New Jersey should take a wrecking ball to any chance of a positive attitude and yet, ...and yet here I was in stellar spirits. Clearly, I wasn't thinking straight. But that's not entirely unusual either.
It was on a pure whim, having left the warehouse and driving north on I-81 toward Bristol, that I decided to test the strength of the truck's speakers by putting on some Ted Nugent. While Uncle Ted let loose with unbridled, rib-cracking power chords, I marveled at the panorama to the west. The weather had been miserable. A dank cover of gray had seemingly enveloped the sky and invaded the very air right down to the ground. But at that moment it was as if the gray sky had been one large overhead jigsaw puzzle and chunks of it were suddenly separating, revealing shafts of orange and pink bursting from behind the clouds and piercing the gloom. More than that,...this warm light turned the clouds into jigsaw shaped silhouettes that formed a curvy frame for the light itself. My spirits went into overdrive.
Yes, the forecast called for strong winds and a deluge of rain in New Jersey at about the time I would arrive. What else is new. Yes, the four hour delay in loading the trailer meant that I my trip plan was shot, and not only would I not be able to make it to my planned location that night, but I would encounter great difficulty finding a parking place at such a late hour. “Them's the breaks,” as they say. It's not what happens to you in life, but rather how you react to it that counts. Approaching 50, it occurs to me that if I can just master the things within my control, the rest will sort itself out. On that evening, the hassles, headaches, and stresses of life over the road seemed to fade into the background, as I allowed myself to revel in the reality of my station in life as a guy whose office is America itself. How cool is that! I had been privileged to spend a month with my Dad on the road. He's my friend and my idol. And as enjoyable as that was, here I was again, basking in tranquil solitude, soaking in God's handiwork over the Smoky Mountains, listening to quintessential American music, all while taking a load of beans to New Jersey. For my money, there was no better place to be at that moment, a moment to savor and remember always. Bad news abounds, and we address it head-on at Ricochet. But from time to time, it's not altogether a bad or frivolous thing to live in the moment.