The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


So I was wrong.  I admit it freely now, and I admitted it quite quickly the other day when the angry old man came storming out of his garage at me.

I arrived to the job a few minutes after Mike had backed his trailer along one side of the wide gravel driveway.  In front of his truck, was an easy access to the front yard of this backwoods, country living log cabin home, and I thought I might park there to ease congestion in the drive.  Front tires went in, and then as I got a better picture of the layout, I backed out, turned around and slid in just off the other side of the driveway with my SUV.  Just right, I thought, for allowing me easy access to my tools, and leaving a wide enough lane open for the homeowner to get his pickup truck out between our work vehicles if needed.

A few minutes later, as I was opening the trailer and getting a few supplies out and ready for our job, I found out differently!
"Did you park on my grass?" was suddenly bellowed toward me as the owner came out of the garage.
"Yeah", I smiled and laughed quietly, ready for a big act.  It's November.  The ground is stiff with looming frost and the grass is half dead and buried under fallen leaves on this wooded lot. Who could really be upset about my zero impact driving?   But it was no act.

The poor guy demanded that this was no joke.  And how would I like it if he came to my house and drove on my lawn in the spring;  he asked me where I live, and then asked for my address and warned me to memorize the grill of his truck so, come springtime, I would recognize the vengeance when it fell.  I am giving him more poetic credit than he deserves and leaving out my pepperings of "Yes, of course you are right.", and about a dozen "I'm sorry sirs.", but you get the idea.  The man was irate, and I could only be apologetic and work to avoid any hint of my inner intransigence.

Mike heard the shouting from the road where he was perforating the lawn with a business sign (oh my) and asked "Is there a problem?"  As I walked away to move my truck the few inches off of the dirty driveway shoulder and onto the driveway proper, I made another mistake.  I called Mike something I never thought I would :  "I already apologized to him SIR!"  That, I will never live down.  By the time I moved my truck, the guy was out of sight and all was quiet.

So now what?  Now I have to go into the house.  With my boots on, I have to walk on this man's floors.  I will be expected to muddle with his front door that is not closing properly and make it all better. Who, me?  It seemed like a thousand things could go wrong for this newly inept carpenter of corruption.  I was tempted to take my truck right off his precious property and go home, rather than face whatever unfair judgments would surely be falling all day long.

Mike and I had a few private laughs about the guy waiting for muddy Spring to mete out his equal treatment, instead of heading for my house right now, as I gathered myself back together and remembered my responsibility to do the job before me, and no less.  I told Mike that one of my favorite verses is one of the most highly applicable:

                             "A gentle answer turns away wrath, 
                                  but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

A little later I was working on the front door and had to step aside when the lady of the house drove up and then came in with a couple very large baskets of flowers.  She did not seem happy, and I began to put two and two together.  "Somebody from this home died recently" I told Mike.  They looked like funereal flowers; the kind that somebody has to take home from the church after all is said and done.  When all are sad, and done in; when the normal aggravation of an errant workman puts one over the top, and beyond civility.  When patience and easy forgiveness are warranted, and must be exercised.

As I worked on that door the owner sat down behind me to watch.  (Normally I charge double if someone watches, and triple if they help, but I decided not to mention that this time.)  He had calmed down amazingly and offered me some inside knowledge about an electrical wire running right behind the door jamb I was about to put some long screws into.  The absent log home builder took some abuse for his folly in letting that happen, but my work was progressing without any negative interference.  I took a moment to compliment him about his beautiful home.  It was indeed nicely laid out and very well decorated.  If it weren't for the massive tire ruts all over the yard, this property, I will not let the sarcasm out this time.

Over the next few hours, as the owner hung about while Mike and I put in some new windows, it came out that the man's 90 year old Mother had died the week before.  He never apologized for going off on me, and probably never thought he should.  But the man certainly did mellow out and I will be all too happy to go back when the next batch of windows needs to be replaced.  Of course, I will park in the very middle of the driveway.


  1. And you wonder why I would think you are lovely? This is a perfect example of why we shouldn't judge, we just never know what is going on in someone's life. You are such a good example of humility and calm. :)

  2. Too true Mike, great job.

  3. You never know what has happened to a person in the day or even half hour before they were rude to you. I'm not proud of some of the things I've said to people when I was frightened, in pain, or had just been called on the carpet for something that wasn't even my fault. An apology doesn't make up for ruining someone's day. As the saying goes, "Lord, let all my words today be sweet and tender, for tomorrow I might have to eat them."

  4. We never know what another person is going through. We're all human and your blog is a perfect reminder of not to judge too harshly. Unless we've walked a mile in someone's shoes.

    Thanks, Mike. I wrote down this proverb. I just love it.


  5. Still no pizza? I guess I'll forgive you all, but thanks for the great comments!

    Yeah, I guess the trick is to get past taking a person's ire personally, and reacting right away. That important pause gives us time to consider the screamer's condition.

    We are best off if we can take God's instruction to heart and simply obey it; ie. use the soft answer as a matter of course, and watch the anger turn away.


I can't wait to see your response so, unless you can leave a pizza, please leave the next best thing; your comment!