It’s a cold January morning that begins much like every morning in January for the past 20 years. Driving the narrow country roads with one hand on the wheel while the other holds a hot, steaming cup of coffee. A difference today would be my wife is in the passenger seat instead of the dog.
We have arrived, at last, to our first stop on today’s route. A small farming operation, not far from our place, run by a classmate I remember from school and his father.
I take my time as I close near to the residence. The truck idling as we make our way at half the suggested speed limit through a maze of farm implements and handmade signs directing traffic. I like to give them plenty of time to notice my arrival and it also reminds me the world does not always have to be in a hurry. I take in any changes in the parking arrangement of the equipment as I pass by a series of weather worn sheds and out of service poultry houses on my way to locations where I have made my sets.
No catches today. Normally empty sets would generate thoughts of “why nots” and “do I need to do something different” that would consume me all the way to the next stop, but this morning, it is just a noticed event in a morning of relaxing conversation with my lovely wife.
We are making our way out when I notice an older gentleman walking toward a place in the drive where we will intersect. His walk is distinct and telling of the mileage and time that has been put on a body. I lower the glass shielding us from the cool air as we approach. He gazes at me as if searching for some familiarity in what he is seeing. I call out to him with an audible tone hoping to assist him in his search. “Morning young man.” A smile breaks his face signaling his relief. “Not feeling all that young this morning, my friend.” We laugh a bit and he explains, “The wife called and asked if I was expecting anyone in a black truck.” I told her, “no, not that I’m aware of.” “Thought I better walk out here and see who was up here. Haven’t seen you in this truck and you don’t have the dog with you.” “Not today,” I replied. “We have some errands to run in town and he’s not as patient as the wife.” He makes an inquiry regarding my success trapping and I report, as does he with my inquiry regarding their success farming. A couple stories later and we exchange closings and the wife and I slide away down the lane.
Reaching the paved road I make a comment regarding how much history is in one person. We had just listened intently for the past twenty minutes to a couple short stories that had all the makings of a great movie. Suspense, laughter and even a touch of sadness. The wife was in agreement.
Perhaps I will find the time one of these days to ink the actual stories I have heard in short conversations with a number of farmers in my area over the course of my trapping years but for now, your imaginations will have to do.