trucking-my highway home!

tractor in yard

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

When I was a kid up in West Virginia I had a friend named Jimmy. I was always staying the night over at his house-we were inseperable buddies for a while there.
Jimmys dad was a truck driver-although I think he stayed around the area and did’nt travel far off. Back in the old days trucks had an air starter that went off with a loud ‘whoop’ sound that nearly scared the daylights out of you if you were’nt aware what the noise was. I remember Jimmys dad would go out to start that old truck real early in the morning before anyone else was awake-and of course the sound of the starter would wake up even the dead…so you could’nt help hearing the thing and laying there in bed listening to its diesel engine clacking and making that intricate noise as its valves warm up to the oil pumping through them.
As his truck warmed up-Jimmys dad would play a steel guitar and sing hymns-my only real introduction to Jesus as a boy. I remember those mornings clearly…Jimmys dad with his cup of coffee sitting next to him on a stool-singing those songs about church and that old truck up on the street clacking away as it warmed up.
Jimmy and his cousin came to Richmond in a stolen VW beetle and some cash…also stolen,from his sister I believe. They came to ‘rescue’ me from the things I had written to Jimmy about that were going on in the school there. We got away for a couple of weeks until the money ran out. Funny-three kids barely 14 driveing around the country and no one was suspicious. We got caught anyway and Jimmy’s dad had to come down to get us,we were in North Carolina.
I felt so sorry about Jimmy’s dad…I always wished he knew that-but the ride home was quiet and after they dropped me off in Richmond at home I never saw them again. I remember looking at his dad from my seat in the back of the VW. He was a kind sweet man-we did’nt mean to do him wrong.
Trucking became my life.
It was the only reasonable thing that I could do to stay full time employed-mostly because I never had to see my employeers and other employees-always independent,always free from personal contact.
Trucks became my prison-although not an unpleasent prison atmosphere…never the less,once in a truck and you are done for. It is worse than a drug-and once upon a time thet used to turn thier heads about drugs-speeders and crystle meth to keep the eyes wide open and the wheels turning 24/7. I once stayed awake 7 days when I was hauling cattle-could make two trips round and back from the cow palace in Lakeland Florida to the feed lot in Brawley California. I am so glad that things twisted in a direction when I was hauling cattle that that life was short lived and my feet carried me swiftly away from that kind of work-you have to be nearly crazy to mess with cattle,and as a load they are the most dangerous there is-and drugs? That is no way to go.
Thats the neat thing about knowing how to truck…jobs were easy to get-especially the odder freight like over size loads. Over size loads are the goal any driver should try for…more rest-no driving in bad weather no driving in bad rain no cities during certain hours and many other good topside benifits to intice one to haul the OD loads-money..if money is your thing-but more so the thrill.
I’ve hauled loads so large they would’nt let us pull them on the interstates-so we had to use special routes that took us miles out of the way into places you would’nt expect a big truck to be…all to try to snake around to find the perfect way to where the load must go. We used to go through Louisiana and the bridge on interstate 10 through Baton Rouge would’nt be wide enough to allow us to manuvure the load across so we had to go all through these little towns scattered all across the state to get to the edge of Bato Rouge where we had a police escort to meet us-and they piloted us through downtown Baton Rouge at our top speed of 70 miles an hour…just to get rid of us.
I found escape in the trucks-the transient nature of the job was comfortable to me-much so that I once spent 8 months straight on the road and in the rig-never seeing my own place for all that time.
You did’nt have form friendships-although you made many aquaintences along the way. I almost always hated to get hooked up with twin loads-there’d have to be another truck to haul the second half…and that dug into my privacy.
Jimmy’s dad…he’s one of those in line with my grandfather ‘Sir’ who I wish I could say “you too help influence me”. Little idea did I have when old Sir took me to see that rig and rigging the night they put the locomotive in the Smithsonian. Little could we have known that those hymns and that steel guitar would have imbedded in me the way they did. So its gracious of God to have led me into trucking through these men…the protection of the immense size of the job-the truck…and the things I moved from one coast to another.
Its not an uncomfortable way to live-theres ways to live in a truck that are just like being at home-and that was the best part of it-never having far to go home when the day was done.

2 Responses to “trucking-my highway home!”

  1. Mike E Says:

    I’m aGoin’ Home
    Whoa Baby
    Back where I belong
    Back home!
    Sit down & Patch My Bones
    to get back Truckin On.

  2. melissachickie Says:

    Its awesome to see how trucking has influenced you in so many ways. I always wondered what it was like to drive a big rig, curious from always seeing my Daddy drive, when he was still working, from Port St Lucie to Homestead every day. I never understood what motivated him to drive that much, let alone burn out so many cars from the mileage and wear and tear. I cannot imagine what it would take to drive from Florida to California, but I know nothing but the grace of God seen you through the long days, nights.

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