Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 22
Doug Bellamy / November 2019
Let me be as clear as new glass, polished to a sparkle. Rob turned out to be an incredible friend. We were extremely close by his untimely and unfortunate demise. At his request, I wrote and delivered his eulogy. He referred to me as the brother he never had, and even now I refer to him as my best friend—ever.
That said, in any relationship there can be ups and downs, and I’m gonna describe one horrible episode, that left us and our relationship at such a low point we both had to reach up just to untie our tangled shoelaces. It took 15 years to work out all the knots.
I’m titling the past chapter and this one “Buy the Best Truck for the Job.” Furthermore, I mentioned prayer and the lack thereof it. Prayer sets smack dab in the middle of this story, like a beautifully arranged centerpiece. It comes into play here, so strong that it simply can’t be ignored.
Well, let me just get this said. Its not easy to do, but necessary. Rob, at times, could be the most generous individual on earth. But in a stark dichotomy, at the same time, he could be just as tight as last year’s Speedos.
Now and then, he would break an agreement, but one such agreement like the one about to be broken turned out to be a deal-breaker for me. It was just too much to bear. After he had reluctantly agreed to have me take over the department and I purchased the equipment, he failed to follow through.
That culminated with my resignation. I gave him two months’ notice, asked who he would like trained for my replacement, and promptly left after fulfilling my final commitment. I was quickly picked up by a local competitor and for the next 15 years we grew that business to nearly six times the size it was before my phone rang a decade and a half later one afternoon in San Diego …
Hold on, what about the truck? What in the world do the words “Buy the best truck for the job” have to do with anything? That brings us back to prayer. I know it kind of seems like I’m zigzagging here, and that’s because I am. It will make sense soon.
I had been struggling for weeks to determine exactly what vehicle to buy, and as I said I prayed about everything and I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed for three solid weeks about this solitary question. Should I buy a gasoline or diesel vehicle?
Nearly everyone told me, including Rob, to just buy the gas vehicle. But somehow, I wasn’t settled on an answer. I didn’t have a clear direction from where I knew I needed it most. Heaven! Finally, after three weeks, I got a simple one-liner that was so profound I knew precisely what to do. The words that came echoing back in response to my petitions were these: “Buy the best truck for the job!”
My decision could have been driven by thinking about initial cost and thinking about many other short-term concerns, cost of insurance and cost of fuel and costs of all sorts of things. I was spending about $50,000, which for me at that point life was a huge sum. This one-liner gave me the clearest direction I could possibly have asked for. I call it a rhema word—God talking. God talks, and it is almighty good advice. We’re talking about the genius of God compared to the paltry insights of a mere human. It’s like the difference between significance and insignificance.
I wound up purchasing a Hino truck that was about 20 percent more expensive than the gasoline truck. Built like a tank, and if not for California laws and emissions changes and the forced eventual out-of-state sale of that truck, it would still be rolling down the California roads today. The purchase was made in 1990, and that beefy beast did the job for nearly three and a half decades.
It was the best truck for the job, and I never looked back. I eventually passed it on to my son who kept it in use for years and years before the forced sale. I can’t emphasize what good advice that was. But the only way I got it was by asking through persistent, incessant prayer until answered.
During all this, when I realized Rob wasn’t going to follow through, I couldn’t believe it. I had poured out everything I had to offer. It boggled my brain. When he failed to deliver on that and left me stuck with equipment, it was simply too much to bear. But, that’s not the end of the story. Perhaps not even the middle of it, but that’s the crux of it. That’s the gist of how that era ended and drifted into the unforgotten, eternal past.
Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at [email protected].