I went on another call today with the boys. It wasn’t real big, and it went down in an unusual way, like usual. County workers unintentionally started a grass fire while welding. When we arrived, their tractor was toasting and the adjacent pasture was ablaze. The boys (with Pete this time) put it out quickly and then went for more water. While they were gone, the county tanker showed up. He wanted to help, and used his sprayers to douse the easement between the road and the pasture fence. Sounded good – except this was the truck they use to oil dirt roads. He threw down two layers of oil. Seemed strange, but it appeared to work and he left as the brush truck returned. I will never understand the rationale behind most things done in this county.
I didn’t notice it right away. My truck was parked in the culvert, across the road and out of the way of personnel and traffic. Somehow, when the oil slicker turned around to make another pass, his sprayers doused the entire length of my passenger side. Great. Have I mentioned how much I love living in Caldwell County?
When everything was finished, Jon offered to wash my truck before we left. Nobody mentioned foam. I understand it’s just Dawn dishwashing liquid, but I prefer Meguiar’s. Five minutes later, not a speck of dirt remained, but the oil spots were intact. Thanks, Jon; it was a good try.
I took it home, got out the Bug ‘N’ Bunny Remover, and my two little ones helped me to scrub every spot off the truck. Within an hour or so, it was good as new. Well, maybe just good as before.
And I met some more nice people today. One lady said she’d lived there 37 years. Wow. Six has been hard enough for me. Stupidity seems as rampant as the dust around here, and she had more stories to tell. Take this call: it was started by someone welding in dry grass. After all was out, the same men removed the burning wheel from the tractor and put it in the back of their pickup to get it fixed. It was only a few minutes before they had another fire in the bed of their truck as the tire relit.
But is this any different from life anywhere else? One morning spent in a courtroom listening to people’s stories was enough to last me a lifetime. I was convinced I was surrounded by idiots and liars. At my dad’s funeral, the young men in charge of the service couldn’t figure out how to fold the flag. They tried three times before my buddies stepped in and showed them. All of us make mistakes, and we learn. We pray nobody remembers our doozies.
I think the revelation came yesterday when I talked to that lovely widow. She was dressed in a housecoat and slippers, but her hair caught my eye. It was black and curly and beautiful. She was kind and thoughtful. An accident with a lawnmower had nearly cost her her home, yet she was thankful for the attentive neighbors who came to care for her. I really liked her. I haven’t liked a stranger in a long time.
God’s “mercy” brought me here. That’s the sarcastic font there; I’m not sure how well it shows. It has felt more like punishment than mercy, quite frankly. And He left me here until I saw the goodness and beauty in people, regardless of their circumstances or blessings. Some people are good, no matter their station. Idiots, accidents and evil happen everywhere – it’s what we do with them that counts.
It is mercy that opens our eyes to our blind sides.
Will I put out fires regardless of how they’re started, and restore peace to those affected? Will I spray life-giving water on the soil of people’s lives, soothing their pain and providing for new life simultaneously?