Big Mother Trucker

We are in Kansas.  It is twilight.  The golden hour.  Soft light

filters into the rest stop picnic area.  It hits it so softly that the

concrete slab and plastic wood grain look, well, pretty.  We are

trying out a two burner camp stove for the first time.  We are moving

on up, people.

The stove is so insanely hard to assemble that even my advanced degrees in

robotics and mechanical engineering are of no help (I don’t actually

have these degrees.  Sometimes I am the only one laughing.  Usually

when this happens the laughter is high and shrill and I have a crazed

look in my eyes.)  Rather than resorting to cussing, I go back to the

trusty backpacking stove.  Ok I cuss, then resort.  Truth in

advertising and all that.

We are having bean dogs.  This consists of baked beans in a hot dog

bun.  Why?  Because it is delicious.  Ambrosia has nothing on this

meal.

I forgot the mustard.  I walk to the truck to search for the mustard.

Clearly.  Bean dogs with no mustard?  NO!

A trucker approaches me quickly on foot.  An old plastic mesh baseball hat

covers his greasy hair.  The rest is as you might expect.  Dirty clothes,

missing teeth, shirt straining against the enlarged belly.  He is

almost my height and at least 100 pounds heavier.  His stubble is days

old and the remnants of food gone by decorate his t-shirt.

He begins to ask me questions.

“I see you are from Utah.”  He reads our plates.

“No, but we were passing through there when we renewed our

registration.”  I explain, not knowing why.

“Oh, where are you from.”

“Nowhere really.  We move around a lot.”

“Oh, what do you do?”

“Oh we just move around for work.”  I say, not wanting to advertise to

this big scary looking man that I have thousands of dollars of photo

equipment in the truck.

“Oh, with the kids?”

“Yes.”

“And your wife, too?”

“Yes.”  The hackles on my back begin to raise.  What kind of sick line

of questioning is this?  I mumble something about getting the mustard

and he walks back towards his truck.

After dinner, I stop by the restroom.  As I exit, (nothing exciting to

report about the aftermath of the bean dogs, sorry) the trucker jogs

toward me.  I ignore him and walk toward the truck.

“Wait!”

I ball my fist up and get ready to punch him in the face as he rushes

toward me.  I have not punched someone in the face since I was a boy,

so I am not sure I am going to do it right, but I am going to give it

the old college try if needed (if nothing else in advanced robotics and

engineering, I learned to try.  See, there I go laughing by myself

again.)

He stops.  “Wait.”  he mumbles, “I don’t have a lot of cash, but I

have some extra.  I hope that you will let me help you and your

beautiful family out.”

I stare at him.  I review my vague answers about not living anywhere

and couple it with eating dinner on a camp stove at a rest area.  I

realize that he thinks we are homeless.

I am both ashamed and amazed.  I give him my sincere shaky voiced

thanks and a hug.  Yes, I go from punch to hug quickly.

As he walked away I shake my head for being such a poor judge.  He was

closer to the truth at thinking me homeless than I was at thinking him

menacing.

Photos from Kansas.

Salt Lake Utah Lifestyle Photographer
Salt Lake Utah Lifestyle Photographer
Salt Lake Utah Lifestyle Photographer
Salt Lake Utah Lifestyle Photographer

BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah