I've changed, thank goodness. This group of men obviously enjoyed each other's company, joshing with each other in a good-natured way. Their presence was comforting in sharp contrast to the greedy, evil Wall Street CEOs parading before Congress lamely attempting to justify their golden parachutes while their companies crashed and burned.
There is dignity in blue-collar work. Honest pay for an honest day's work - what a refreshing idea. I'm galled that a certain sector of our society seems to think they are due ungodly amounts of money simply for sitting on their derrieres in a leather chair in their high-rise offices.
After the roaring of the bears on the stock market, politicians have all been fawning over the greatness of the American workforce. I agree, but I think it is more nobly represented by those construction workers than some swanky corporate executive.
Soon enough I saw my husband arrive in his now-distinctive fashion. He stepped down from his rig with a certain swagger - the kind most men have when they are hauling a piece of heavy equipment.
I hugged him eagerly and enjoyed his peck on my cheek even though it was a bit sweaty. His red T-shirt was damp with perspiration, his khaki shorts were dusty, and his fingernails bore witness to the fact that he had been digging in the dirt.
My husband lost his suit-and-tie job four years ago in a hostile takeover. He was a pastor, but that's another story. Now he preaches his sermons in a different fashion, living out his faith with hands calloused from swinging a shovel and handling brick pavers. I love him more than ever as he does what is necessary to help put food on our table.
Many people moan that hard economic times are coming. I know from personal experience what it means to count pennies and wonder how far they will stretch. But I will also affirm that I am a much better person for having traveled this path with my hard-working man.
These are times when we need to abandon the myth that you can have something for nothing. Gone are the days when borrowing was easy and paying off debts could wait. There is no such thing as a "free lunch." Everyone is standing on someone else's shoulders. Integrity matters. Hard work is the antidote to economic crisis, and a tighter belt holds your pants up better anyway.
Sweaty kisses are just as sweet when they come from the one you love.