I met a man in Ozona Texas…




my sons and the old road commander from a long time ago

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I’m sure the man I met in Ozona Texas one night will not be able to tell this story the same way I can tell the story. As a matter of fact-I think if I were him I would want to know the rest of the story-how it all happened.

In the late 1970’s I was hauling chemicals for an outfit in Florida running I-10 all the way from Florida to Los Angeles. The truck I drove-a White Road Commander-is in the photograph. They were production truck and most of them came with a fairly standard paint job so they looked alike. To make things worse,our company leased the trucks from a large leasing service and they painted all thier trucks alike and they owned a bunch of them-White Road Commanders,some called them ‘Road Commodes’ as sort of a joke.
Along the route through Texas the highway west of San Antonio goes into some really desolate country-desert lands for sure,and very few places to stop (back then) and someone took advantage of that and built an oasis in Ozona Texas…a truck stop.
I stopped in there one night while the place was still under construction but the fuel desk was open for business and there was a half finished snack bar where you could get coffee and sandwiches and that was about all-then,now its a full service truck stop…if its still there!
It was about three in the morning-dark and a bit chilly at the time of night. I got in my rig and stuck into gear and up the ramp and onto 10 I went,and I am cruising down the highway feeling funny about something-but not sure what. And I’m going along at a fair clip still feeling odd about something-as if something just did’nt seem right,so I lit up a cigerette….and it was a menthol,and I did’nt smoke menthols so I flicked on the dome light to see what the deal was with my cigerettes and there in the bunk behind me was a huge old fellow sound asleep in the bunk.
I was in the wrong truck.
It took me about three hours to hitch back to the truck stop…I walked most of the way. I was not about to go any further in that truck for fear the guy would wake up and the distance to the next exit was many miles off,so I did not want to risk the chance of this guy waking up….so I eased over to the side of the road and ran for all I could muster. I did’nt lock the brakes,for fear the sound of the air wooshing would wake him….and I did’nt the door-that was obvious when I passed the parked truck later that morning in my own truck-the door was flapping in the wind that came off of the other trucks that went by,the suction of thier speed causing the door to swing.
I often wonder about that guy-what he must have thought when he woke up later that day,he was for sure a sound sleeper-all that noise from the door alone!
I often wonder if he remained sane,or did he become someones babbeling old uncle that just sits out on the front porch and mumbles about the truck stop? Sitting there saying over and over for all these years….there was a truck stop,there was a truck stop,there was a truck stop.
Back in those days the use of the good old ‘pocket rocket’ was prominant-California turn arounds,meaning you could swallow a black beauty and that sucker would keep you wide awake for a great number of hours and cause a guy to chew more gum than Wrigley’s could ever make-and smoke one cig after the other. It used to be that toothpicks would be dipped into an amphetdamine solution and you could sit in a truck stop and just look down the line of drivers sitting at the coffeee counter chewing on a tooth pick….boosting the speed with a high tone cup of caffiene.
California turn arounds could easily make illusions out of things after you keep using them regular-bridge over passes look like large mouths readying to swallow you and your truck or imaginary monsters of other sorts would appear-how many old time truckers thought they saw ‘big foot’ because of speedo tooth picks?
So it is very possable my new found friend from Ozona was sleeping off several days of back and forth of wide awake and when he came to after my leaving him along side the interstate highway he probrebly thought he had the ultimate of illusions thinking he saw a truck stop-parked there and all….and it never really was there.

I hope I left him heading in the right direction.

I sure hope I left him heading in the right direction.

7 Responses to “I met a man in Ozona Texas…”

  1. Mike E Says:

    Is there a wrong direction when you have toothpicks soaked in speed? If he hit the wrong coast I suppose he could just flip around & pick his teeth & barrel on — like he goes 1000-odd miles in the wrong direction for fun.

    In his sleep even!

  2. jayherron Says:

    …just as long as he had a load-trucking is all about the load!!

  3. Mike E Says:

    What — those guys do this for money?

    I thought it was all about getting Loaded.

    Shit catch me bored & homeless enough and I’ll haul clear to california for nothin but a free box of toothpicks!!

    Thanks for the highly amusing story.

  4. jayherron Says:

    …wait until I get around to telling you about Paul-he’s a guy that worked for me as a driver and was about as smart as a box of rocks,he was’nt some one I hired. The boy would get lost and stand in front of a pay phone and wait for you to call him to find out where he is?? no joke-glad the SpeedWay is seeing the pleasures a toothpick can contain!

  5. texas topaz Says:

    Maybe this guy wasn’t living…Did u notice any unpleasant odor…There is a great truck stop in Ozona, Tx. & it is an oasis with a indoor pool surrounded by a jungle

    • jayherron Says:

      ha ha,well did not check his pulse but am sure he wondered where in the world he was! The trip that this was on the truck stop was still being built! good hearing from you,peace

  6. www.occupyseattle.org Says:

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent work!

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