I feel good. Maybe it’s the way the sun is hitting this farmland I’m driving past. The scalped fields. The blue skies.
Or maybe it’s the way my waitress kept smiling at me this morning.
I was at a truckstop, eating breakfast. It’s a good feeling to eat eggs in a room full of handle-bar mustaches.
Shaniqua was my server. It was on her nametag.
“I’m happy today,” Shaniqua said. “Just told my husband he gonna be a daddy. He started crying. He’s a big ole Teddy bear.”
She was pure euphoria.
I wish I would’ve had a wallet full of fifties.
Maybe it’s the semi-truck, carrying pallets of bricks, ahead of me in traffic right now. There’s a giant tarp. It’s tattered, flapping in the wind. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
The driver must know this because his hazards are on. He’s driving slow—probably looking for a place to pull over.
God love him.
There’s a sticker on his bumper which reads: “How Am I Driving?” and a phone number.
I dialed the number before I hit Pintlala, Alabama.
“Hello,” the woman’s voice says.
“Yeah, I’d like to report that one of your drivers is quite exceptional.”
“You wanna what, sir?”
“That’s right, just wanna inform you that one of your drivers deserves a fat raise.”
More silence. “Is this real?”
“Okay, I’ll write it down, sir.”
“Happy New Year, ma’am.”
She’d already hung up.
Maybe it’s the way my dog is sleeping in the passenger seat. She’s snoring.
Why can’t I be more like a dog? It takes so little to satisfy them. A belly rub, dry food, a quick roll in a foul-smelling substance, and (snap!) euphoria.
I love that word. Euphoria. For years, I used it wrong. I thought it was a continent that Napoleon conquered after he sailed the Ocean Blue in 1897. But I know what the word means now.
The way summer air turns into winter air, almost overnight. Or how you feel when you see people you grew up with, shopping in a department store.
Or when you see sharp kids who will one day grow up to be astrophysicists—or if they’re lucky, truck drivers.
And farmland. Average scenery that isn’t average if you know how to look at it. Sprawling pastures that make you say, “Ain’t that pretty?” even though your third-grade teacher threatened to gut you with a pitchfork for using “ain’t.”
An old man once told me: “Good days get harder to come by the older you get. Just wait. One day, everything on your body hurts, and life is lousy. You’ll see.”
Maybe. But that doesn’t change the prettiness of today. It doesn’t erase the small farms along the highway. Or the sparkling frost on my truck hood this morning.
It can’t change the way fifteen-year-old Arnold, who has cerebral palsy, wants to be a world famous chef one day.
It won’t change the way seventy-two-year-old Percy felt when he graduated from online high school last week.
Or the way twelve-year-old Dean sang “In the Garden,” for his step-father’s funeral.
Or the way a simple grin from a pregnant truckstop waitress can make fifty truckers look like they just discovered teeth.
Heaven is real. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see.
But not when I look at Shaniqua.