As I head across town for anther fast talking, big production that the company I work for calls a business meeting, I pop my old Luke Bryan CD into the player in my truck.
It seems that the red lights are working against me, but as I rush through side streets and turn up and down the one ways that litter downtown, the title track of the album comes on, “I’ll Stay Me.”
“My deep Southern drawl makes the conversation crawl - You're gonna have to hang around long enough to hear me out,” Bryan sings.
This line catches my attention and I am instantly back at Marvin’s Feed Store, where I spent many of hours as a kid with my dad.
Marvin and my dad could chew the fat with the best of them.
They would talk about the weather. Would it rain today? Was it ever going to rain again?
They would talk about Rosemary’s casserole at church last Sunday and how good it was; or sometimes how awful it was, but how they still had to try it because it would be rude not too.
They would discuss local politics and wonder if the highway was still going to come through.
While the two of them were in deep discussion, I wandered around the store, bored out of my mind, kicking up saw dust that always seem to cover the floor at Marvin’s.
All I cared about was whether dad would let me get a bag of root beer candies or not.
Occasionally, I would tune an ear into a conversation, but they always seemed stuck in the same spot whenever I did.
It could be hours of nothingness conversation that never seemed to have any point to it.
But as I sit here in this meeting now with everyone talking over everyone as they are trying to make their point and close the deal, I can’t help but remember those conversations at Marvin’s.
My dad didn’t speak when Marvin did, Marvin didn’t speak when my dad did - instead they both listened to each other regardless of how mundane the topic may have been because they knew that the trick to a good conversation wasn’t the talking, but it was the listening.