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Sun Behind the Mountain

Sun Behind the Mountain

Hello and good day!

Over his thirty-year career as a driver, Rick had driven every vehicle there was to drive. Forklifts, golf carts, long haul trucks, airport shuttles, you name it.

The company he was working for went through a round of downsizing and he lost his job making deliveries to grocery stores.

Rick's first thought was to sign up as an Uber driver. But the doc told him he ought to think about losing thirty-five pounds, his gut hung over his belt, and also, working on his feet would be good for his bad back.

Home Depot seemed like a good option. He'd be on his feet all day.

The only problem was that Rick also wanted to quit smoking and he had a notion that breathing more fresh air would be good for his lungs.

One of his buddies had been working as a salesman for a company that did driveway paving. His bud made it sound like a good job.

"You walk around neighborhoods knocking on doors and talking to people all day. If somebody does a project, you get a fat commission," said his friend.

"Is there any base pay?" asked Rick.

"There's a small base. But the big money is in making sales. You have to bank what you make in good months to carry you through the leaner times," said the friend.

If Rick was going to make a career change, it was the right time.

One of his daughter's had just moved back home with her two sons. Her deadbeat husband ran off with another woman and wasn't chipping in much alimony.

His daughter had a good job working as a nurse, but even so, it made sense for her to save money on rent.

Rick's wife was able to take care of the kids when they weren't in school and that saved money on babysitting, in addition to setting up grandma for extra quality time with her grandsons.

Because of all that, his daughter was chipping in on bills around the house, which took some financial pressure off of Rick.

"Well, what the hell," thought Rick to himself after talking to his buddy. He decided to go for it.

The next morning, he kissed his wife and grandsons goodbye. His daughter was working a graveyard shift at the hospital and wasn't back yet.

Before leaving, Rick stood in front of the small, round kitchen table and gave the two young men a little pep talk.

"Work hard today boys, just like your grandpa. I never skipped a day of work unless I was sick, and I never took any money I didn't earn. You're my blood and I expect you to hold up our family reputation. Work hard from the beginning of the day until the end. You hear me boys?"

The boys drank orange juice and nodded.

That was another good thing about having his daughter and her kids living in the house. He could teach these boys how to act like real men, unlike their chicken of a father.

Rick showed up at company HQ and got the run down. His buddy was there, and they drank a cup of coffee together before hitting the street.

New reps didn't get much training. They were assigned a neighborhood and told to knock on every door. If somebody was interested, reps wrote their name in pencil on a brochure.


If the person called for a consultation and eventually went on to schedule a project, the initial rep would get a commission. It sounded easy enough.

Rick was assigned to an affluent neighborhood that was much fancier than where he lived. He parked his car at one end of the main road, grabbed a stack of papers, and started walking.

Immediately he knew he was in trouble.

All the driveways were already paved and in great condition, and nobody in this neighborhood felt too good about opening their door to a stranger, especially a fellow like Rick.

He was handsome enough for his age. But he was a blue-collar guy from a blue-collar neighborhood.

He had a shaggy grey mustache that hung down over his lip and shaggy grey hair that stuck out from underneath a company baseball cap.

The hours evaporated away. By 3pm he hadn't given out a single brochure.

"Screw this. I'll have to look for a different job. I'm going home," he thought.

On the drive back to his house, he remembered what he told his grandsons about working hard all day. How would it look if he got home early?

"Aw hell," he thought to himself.

He stopped in a nice neighborhood about ten miles north of where he lived. He always liked the properties around there. There was a giant cone of mountain dominating the skyline. It was covered in pines that were dusted with white frost.

Houses were down at the foot of the mountain looking up at it. The homes in that area were nice, but not ostentatious. Rick got out of his car with his papers and started walking.

It was late afternoon now and the cold was coming on.

Rick looked up at the mountain and saw the sun just above the summit.

He could still feel some heat coming from the sky, but he knew that when the sun went behind the mountain and a shadow covered the street, it was going to get mighty chilly and fast.

As he walked along, he looked at houses. "What makes sense?" he thought to himself.

He didn't like the idea of walking up on a house with a single car in the driveway. It could be a woman with children or a stay-at-home wife all by herself.

He wouldn't want a strange man walking up on his house out of the blue when his wife was alone.A lot of the driveways were already paved, but many were gravel too.

Some of the driveways had developed ruts on them where cars had to brake before turning on to the main street. When it rained hard and dirt under the gravel became soft, car wheels could spin away the gravel and dig ditches in the soil below. Rick managed to hand out a few flyers with his name on it.

The sun was behind the mountain now and Rick was shivering. He hadn't dressed warmly enough.

His toes were numb, and his hands were stiff, but he was getting into a rhythm the way a person does when they become lost in their work. He decided to stay out there and brave the dropping temperature.

At least it was a clear evening, and he didn't need an umbrella.

When the sky had just turned black, a Subaru station wagon came creeping by and turned up a driveway right in front of him. Rick heard wheels spinning in gravel. The driver had to accelerate out of a rut to get up hill.

Rick hurried to catch up with the driver before he or she went in. At the top of the driveway there was a Toyota Sienna. Two little kids came shrieking out of the house.

"Daddy! Daddy!" they yelled. "Hello kids!" yelled the father.

Rick hated to burst in, but he couldn't help it. He cleared his throat.

"Sorry to interrupt sir," said Rick.

The man turned around and looked down the driveway at old Rick standing there in the dark.

"Yes? What is it?" said the father.

"Sir, I drove professionally for thirty years. Now I help people with paving their driveways. I heard your tires spinning. With the rain coming, it's just a matter of time before you get stuck in that rut on the way to work and it is going to be a big pain in your neck. Paving a driveway increases the value of your home too in case you and your family ever want to sell and move to a bigger place."

"Good timing. My wife was just saying we need to do something about the driveway. What's your name?"


Rick wrote down his name on a brochure and handed it to the fellow.

"Let them know that Rick sent you in case you decide to do something with us," said Rick.

"Thank you so much," said the man.

Rick felt like a hero when he came home.

He walked all day and hadn't smoked.

His back felt good.

His toes were frozen stiff though.

"How'd it go grandpa?" asked one of his grandsons.

"It went pretty good. I learned something today. Want to know what?"

"You learned something grandpa? But you're old. We thought you already knew everything."

"I only almost know everything. Here's what I learned. Just cause the sun goes behind a mountain and its cold and dark doesn't mean you should call it quits. If you keep working hard all day until the end, good things will happen. Did you boys work hard today like me?"

"We did grandpa!" they shouted.

"Good job boys."

Rick sat down on the sofa in front of the TV between his wife and daughter. He patted his wife on the leg and kissed his daughter on the cheek.

He leaned his head on the back of the couch and promptly fell asleep.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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