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It's the Folks That You Meet

The image popped into my mind, followed shortly by the name. It was a memory plucked from a bank stuffed with a lifetime of experiences. Some of which may never reveal themselves, especially as the fog of the years spreads over them.

He was one of the many drivers in our division of line crews. He went by a nickname that was a variation of his surname…and it suited him. From a distance, he came off as a bit of a wild man, which seemed rather appropriate in that work environment.

There was a coffee spot that our teams frequented that offered unlimited pancakes for $1.50. It was a known fact that he had woofed down well over a dozen, with a quart of milk and a quart of orange juice. My gang stopped there one morning; our level of competition fizzled when none of us could make it past seven. It was a chore just getting out to the truck afterwards.

He didn’t seem to be well regarded for his work ethic. Everyone seemed to have a story or an opinion, but he was one of us and that mattered. I got to know him when he asked me to help him move, which turned out to consist of just the two of us. I liked him but he wasn’t ground handing for me.

In those days, problems were worked out “in-house” and it took a lot to escalate things. So, when his “attendance” issues reached that point, he was brought in for discipline and it was decided that he would be sent away to straighten out his drinking problem. The resolution, to the rest of us, was hilarious. The guy didn’t drink. He just liked to smoke a little (well, maybe, a lot) weed… and had trouble getting out of bed.

Terry Bellew

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