One of the highlights of retirement is that I can usually stop what I am doing and have a good conversation.
Today I had a special treat. Darrold the Oilman filled up our in-ground tank for the winter.
I realize that anybody can get snowed. But I think Darrold is incredibly well informed and he gleans his information from a vast array of sources.
I heard about the time his rig was hit by a loaded school bus. I bet those kids had some stories to tell.
I heard about ag equipment break-downs and the risks in rigging wet, frozen equipment that is buried to the axles in bog-mud.
I heard about Sunday calls.
I heard about a co-worker who got a call one Christmas afternoon. He had just enjoyed a glass (or two) of Christmas wine with is parents. He did not think it was prudent to go dashing down icy roads with a half loaded tand of fuel sloshing around and a breath that would make the needle quiver. The customer was a big customer and made a stink about it.
I heard about the inside people (office managers) not getting out where the action is.
I heard about the kids (people under 30) looking busy but getting less done. His stories called to mind a very old joke about an old bull who advised his eager, young protege of the advantages of walking over once and getting to know all the cows.
I heard about pensions, pay rates and favoritism. I heard about drug useage and stupidity. I heard about sacrifice and charity, grace and dignity. I am not the norm. I get one fill a year. There are people who live paycheck-to-paycheck and they get a sip of fuel every week or two. They get the same courteous service that I get.
I heard about getting older. I heard about slipping on wet grass, cardboard and loose lumber. I heard about it taking longer to heal but being smart enough to pace yourself so you do what you can do.
There are certain people who are rural opinion makers. I include sheep shears, rural postal delivery people, the UPS and FedEx drivers, school bus drivers and the Oilman. You can also add the guys who pick up your garbage, the local salvage dealer and the people who grade your road and plow your snow and the vet who works on large animals. These guys see everything and are plenty smart.
Enjoying these people and their stories is one of the funnest parts of my Christian mission. It is entertaining. I always learn something. And every once in a while the universe does something stunningly generous for me and I often do not know who to thank.
And all of his wisdom and entertainment did not add one penny to the cost of my heating oil bill.