“The Woman Behind The Man Behind The Wheel”

Roger Clark
August 2021

Country music legend Red Sovine recorded “The Woman Behind The Man Behind The Wheel” in 1977, a top-100 pick on the Billboard Charts. Already famous for “Giddyup Go” (1965), “Phantom 309”, (1967), and “Teddy Bear” (1976), “Woman Behind The Man Behind The Wheel” was his almost last big hit. This record never moved me much, because my ex’s were always moving, a lot. 

But then I met Susan, who turns sixty-something in a couple of weeks, and the lyrics of this song grow more meaningful by the year. We didn’t even meet, till July of 2014, but she’s become my greatest ally, bestest friend, closest confidant, and first call bail bondsman. I trust her to stand behind me, prepared to defend me, and keep a grip on my bungee cord. She has never uh, let me down.

 They say multiple jobs and multiple marriages share a lower percentage of success. I’ve certainly had my share of both, and a corresponding rate of failures, but now have the highest pay, strongest credit, best vehicles, and a life insurance policy too low to hire a hitman. Life is good, eh?

But it wasn’t easy. Well, okay, for me it was easy. All I had to do is show up and shut up, do my job, and find my way home to the right address. My girl, on the other hand, had to work with the realtors, research opportunities, investigate neighborhoods, and navigate countless sacrifices. She did this and more, with grace, patience, humor, and prayer.

 Just today, in fact, I tried to track her movements as I slaved away on the computer. It’s not that easy. Last time I caught a glimpse of her, she was assembling the new patio set. Before that she was washing dishes, by hand, because she can watch the backyard wildlife. Prior to that, of course, she was making breakfast, which is no small affair in our home. 

Susan puts out our best dishes, for just the two of us, with the best cloth place mats and napkins. I get full size silverware, fresh flavored coffee, and fruit-filled oatmeal as a regular fare. We say grace for every meal together, and I thank God every day for her, even when it’s salmon for the fourth time this week.

 Before the dew is off our lawn, that woman is filling the bird feeders, weeding a garden, and picking the crop for dandelion tea. As the sun gets higher, she digs deeper for the energy to do laundry, sweep the floors, make the beds, and take out the trash. I did see her go to the bathroom, just now, and thought it was break time, but she was in there only to lower the lid before moving on to her next project.

Our neighbors have golf course quality lawns, expensive as they look, but thanks to Susan we have blue jays, orioles, robins, and cardinals. We also have squirrels, thanks to neighbors who think they’re cute, but I can shoo them away while my wife waters the plants, cleans the gutters, gathers up leaves, and stows the recycling.

 I thought this energizer bunny with a servant heart would throttle back some, in the early years, but she shows no signs of stopping. Even now, as I dedicate my third half of life to viewing every YouTube video, she is studying Hillsdale College, practicing sign language, and learning to speak Spanish. 

She knows a lot of big words, because she reads a lot of big books, often while sitting upon my stack of Marvel Comics. George Macdonald, C.S. Lewis, GK Chesterton, and JR Tolkien all share a place in her heart, while she has a place in mine. This….. is what August means to me!