My Friend Roy

Sep 24, 2020    Eric Hoffman
So.. I'm pragmatic at times. Just look at this blog entry. No warm up, no intro, just straight to the fact. I tend to get down to business. I often forget to say "good morning" or ask "how was the weekend?" It's not to be rude, it's just, to me, time has these neat little compartments and I don't like to mix and match their purposes sometimes. But I'm getting better.

I learn from those around me. I see those extroverts that strike up a conversation and have made a friend in a moment. I sometimes envy that banter, sometimes though I just want to get down to the business at hand. That's how I met Roy. A tree had fallen on the fence and he looked like he had fought that tree all day. I learned Roy had fought a lot.

I stopped my truck upon seeing him struggling, I walked up and of course didn't introduce myself, just a simple "let me give you a hand". He agreed, and we cut up a few thousand pounds of white oak. Sure we talked about how hot it was, how bad the storm that took this tree down was, and we could have been fine working in the sun. We stopped to oil the chainsaw, and after 30 minutes of working or so, we realized we hadn't exchanged names. Well, that was all it took for Roy to share how he got the job, only one he could get right out of prison. He told me and then inserted some odd pauses. Maybe he was waiting for judgement or something. I didn't oblige, I just listened. He talked about his kids and ex.... pause. He talked about how he lost a job because of his temper before.... pause.

See, not only was inserting judgement into this pauses not the right thing to do. I realized quickly that other than some jail time, we had some things in common. I struggled with a few of the same issues he struggled with. I was just lucky to have support that let me struggle well. If for just an hour or two, Roy saw me as his support team, then great! We can all do a bit more listening and a lot less judging.

Then we got back to work, with his excellent chainsaw technique over shadowing whatever demons he was struggling with. I saw his ability and effort over his clothes, skin, past, or struggles. I was glad that we met, and proud to call Roy my friend.

-Eric Hoffman