Midnight Chicken

Lee used to bring me chicken at midnight.

When I got up Monday afternoon, Heidi said: Our kids and grand-kids are all OK. The rest of the family is OK and everyone here on the rig is OK but I have some sad news. Lee was killed last week.

I’d been watching for him for several nights. I’d already set aside the peanut brittle I was going to give him.

Lee was a pusher (field supervisor) for a company that we’ve worked with for the past year and a half. I talked to him almost every week, sometimes several times a week. We work with so many nice guys, but he stood out. Lee wasn’t unusually handsome or charismatic. Lee stood out because he was unusually kind.

He was always worried about my torn meniscus.  He’d jump out of his truck to meet me on the RV steps so I wouldn’t have to make the climb. When it rained, he’d race to the door to make sure he was the one who got wet.

Lee would check out our next location before we even knew where we were headed. On his own time, he’d drive the torn up Texas back-roads to find the route that would cause the least amount of rocking and rolling to our RV. The glove compartment is stilled stuffed with his hand drawn maps.

Lee was only 45 years old when another driver crossed the center line and hit him head on. He wasn’t even supposed to be there. Like me, Lee works nights and his shift  was over. Typically, he volunteered to make one last run to save David the long drive out.

David’s face fell when he told Heidi the news.  Everyone is sad. Everyone says the same thing: He was a very good man. Unanimous praise is rare in this industry.

Someone new just came in a few moments ago, with Lee’s plate on his truck. I felt my gut synch-up as I wrote down HN6 and asked him how he was. He said: I’d be better if I didn’t have to be here.

He may be nice enough. I don’t know. I only know he isn’t Lee.  I was thankful to make it through Be safe and have a good night before my throat closed up. Tears were flooding my face as his tail lights faded.

The nights down here are quiet and sometimes lonely and I’ve truly lost a friend. There won’t be any more gifts of chicken at midnight.

But I didn’t sit down to write about me or my grief. I sat down to write about Lee and about how one man’s kindness moved my heart.

Life is short.

Be kind. Be kind all of the time because there may not be another time.

Cords: The Ties That Bind – A Tribute

To say that we aren’t “crafty” would be an understatement of some magnitude. You’ve seen my drawings and my pumpkins so you have some idea. The fact that you haven’t seen any drawings or pumpkin carvings by Heidi should help fill out the picture.

And, of course, you know about my knitting – scarves – just scarves.  Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Heidi connected with some folks on the East Coast that were in desperate need of scarves and and mittens. I was thrilled to box up garbage bags full of scarves, knowing they were going to add the smallest bit of comfort.

That’s what we want to do when in light of unimaginable sorrow – try to find some tangible way to comfort.

Our TSA boss asked if we would make something out of blue and yellow ribbons for everyone to wear today. Last night we were given spools of blue and yellow cords. I had no idea what to do with cord. I tried braiding bracelets without much success. I finally gave up and fashioned pins that I hoped look a little like children.

We all wore them today – everyone who works here, everyone who came here. All over the nation, people were wearing Sandy Hook’s school colors: green and white or blue and yellow, because we want to do something, anything. We want to help and we can’t. Feeling helpless can lead to hopelessness. It can also lead to indifference.

Mourning is love with no place to go. ~ anon

Today we wore their colors… for at least one more day, we remembered and prayed. Before long, the news coverage will switch to the fiscal cliff or another tragedy and most of our lives will settle into a routine of regular-ness. It has to be that way or we couldn’t survive. We can’t carry the weight of all the grief and sorrows we hear about each day. But today, we cry. Today we pray.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love. ~ Washington Irving

What we can’t afford to do is to become indifferent. We’re bound together by cords. This isn’t a post about guns or mental health. It’s not a platform. It’s personal. It’s a call to care, to pray, to remember. I’m going to leave my little blue and yellow cords on until they come a part just to help me remember a little longer.

Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted. Said a wise man to one in deep sorrow, ‘I did not come to comfort you; God only can do that; but I did come to say how deeply and tenderly I feel for you in your affliction. ~ Tyron Edwards

Tonight The Voice opened with a moving tribute – click on the Watch on You Tube link.