Doug has been a salesman almost all his life. Not long after Brian was born, we moved Doug’s Fund Raising business from our house to a large warehouse that Doug had built. I was on maternity leave from the office of Minit Mart Foods. Doug talked me into quitting that job to run his (our) office. I wasn’t sure that he and I could work together, but I agreed to try it for 6 months. Along with setting my own hours, I had the advantage of taking the baby to work with me. We set up the office complete with playpen for Brian. Doug traveled to schools every day, while I stayed in the office to answer the phone and processed orders. We ordered product (candy) in bulk and had it delivered every two weeks.
The candy, cases of mostly M & Ms and Hershey Bars arrived every two weeks from Nashville via semi truck. I had the same driver for almost 10 years. His first name was Will. I don’t know if I ever knew his last name. He was a small, maybe 5 foot 6-7 inch black man that could not have weighed 130 pounds soaking wet! Always had a toothpick in his mouth and got down out of the cab of his truck, singing in a beautiful voice, “Jesus, loves me, this I know! ‘Cause the Bible tells me so!”
It’s funny , to me, where friends come from. Because Will and I became friends. He could maneuver that truck like no one I have ever seen! He never arrived late and he never missed making my delivery in all those years, but once.
Will would back the semi up to the dock, swing down from the cab, singing the whole time. He would tip his hat at me and open up the back of the truck. Union regulations said that after he opened the door, getting the product out of the truck was up to the customer (me). Over the years, we tried several different approaches on how to accomplish this; since I was always there, alone, when Will made the delivery. But at first, Will would open up the truck, bring the candy to the back of the truck, jump down, and take Brian out of my arms and watch while I unloaded the candy. He and Brian got to be great friends! Will had six kids of his own. He would sing to Brian and play with him for as long as it took me to unload the candy.
Will and I would talk about our families, kids, his wife, a little of everything as the years went by. He told me on many occasions about his love of God and his hope for his children. He had a daughter he was worried about. He thought she was “running around” too much. He talked about his wife with such love in his voice! The only time in all those years that Will got a substitute driver and didn’t make my delivery, it was because he had to go to court with one of his sons.
At some point, we stopped ordering that much candy and no longer needed Will, the truck driver. But I think of him and his sweet voice sometimes and pray for him and his family. A finer man, I don’t know! Stay tuned.