I drive a semi-truck many hours of most days. Sometimes the music fills my head and I write songs. A couple weeks ago, this song came to mind.

The Lovely of You

Dedicated to the memory of my eight beautiful children who are grown and flown

by Maggie June 2019

They say a trucker’s life is lonely, endless hours and days alone;

But I’ve got something better than radio; by end of day, time has flown.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

I see the dazzling lights of cities, the glamour of poetic ode;

I’ve been to the Falls of Niagara, and driven the Golden Gate Road;

I drive the sunset with scarlet and sapphire hues,

But I’m always aware than nothing compares

To the lovely of you.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

I drive the wailing desert wind storms and through the lush mountain pines;

Through daylight and on into darkness, in rain and snow, I drive the lines;

Time has no meaning; each day is exciting and new;

Awake or asleep, my dreams still repeat

The lovely of you.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

Lovely, lovely, lovely,

Lovely, lovely, lovely,

Oh, I’m always aware than nothing compares to the lovely of you.

Awake or asleep, my dreams still repeat the lovely of you;

The lovely of you.

The next day I was driving along, and the sunrise inspired a tune to go with the lyrics. I will just have to get myself a guitar and a recording studio to document my songs for future generations. Sounds like my next project.

 

Live load, tandem axle, air brakes, halogen fluid? Huh? It was Greek to me.

Ever had a blonde moment? C’mon, admit it. Even if your hair is dark black and you are a veteran male truck driver with eleven million miles and 78 years of experience, you might recall waaaay back when you had a blonde moment.

The internet flaunts quite a number of trucker blonde moments. Swift drivers are the butt of the largest percentage of jokes. After some research, I determined that the reason Swift has got a reputation for so many rookie drivers let loose on the road is because Swift has by far the most trucks with the most drivers out there. The giant company has somewhere around 20,000 trucks, give or take a few thousand, so the law of averages dictates that you will find more Swift blonde moments than any other.

Of course training requirements, which varies significantly from company to company, affect how prepared new drivers are to meet the demands of the Road. Due to insurance restrictions, many companies won’t accept new drivers until they’ve had 12-24 months experience. Naturally, those drivers might have fewer blonde episodes.

Hats off to the companies who accept new drivers and train them well. If it weren’t for them, us newbie, rookie, blondies wouldn’t have a chance.

The thing is truck drivers are in such high demand everywhere, the industry has no choice but to grant some leniency to new drivers. If it weren’t for truck drivers, you wouldn’t be eating breakfast this morning. Your daily visit to Starbucks would find them out of your favorite latte, and by the time your car needs refueling, you’d find gas prices had just doubled; that is, if you can find a gas station with fuel.

The demand for CDL drivers seems to be growing faster than the supply. I have much empathy for those who brave the Road and endure the first six months of hard knocks, sometimes literal, that inevitably attend the learning curve. I don’t laugh at Swift drivers. I don’t laugh at any driver. It takes more than most non-CDL drivers realize to learn to drive a Big Rig.

Now that I’ve had 28 months experience, things come much more naturally, and I absolutely enjoy driving. But I am always AWARE to BEWARE of complacency. Getting too comfy precedes accidents.

I recently read a statistic which stated that every 16 minutes, an accident occurs somewhere in the US involving a semi-truck. Many times truckers are at fault, and many times, they are not. You can’t imagine how many times little cars cut in front of a semi and then slow down causing the truck driver to hit the brakes. I imagine many car drivers are unaware that a truck with a loaded trailer takes much longer to slow down safely. Often, even when a truck driver has the lesser fault in an incident, the CDL driver takes the biggest legal hit.

Now that I have learned what it takes to get into the profession, the long hours, and the risks involved, my respect for truck drivers has grown immensely. Knowledge should increase awareness and appreciation.

When you gulp down your Big Mac and coke, thank a driver. When you streak your Corvette into a gas station for a refill, thank a driver. When you plant your trees and flowers in your grandiose back yard, thank a driver. When your friends and family gather for barbecued burgers and a bucket of booze, thank a driver. Everything you eat, drink, wear, or use in your home, yard, or business came from a truck. Before you dish out Scotch blessings to a truck driver who slowed your commute or obstructed your view, pause and count to ten. Then count your blessings. The Good Lord provided them, and they were delivered by a truck driver.

Have I had blonde moments? Huh? What did you say? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Okaaaaay. Well…yeeees…I’ve had a few blonde moments, maybe a couple. …Okay, so a couple hundred.

It wasn’t the most natural thing in the world for me to learn to drive a semi-truck. Naturally, I had to work hard and long and endure a lot of razzing to get to this point. The Swift drivers that people laugh at? That was me. I’ve never driven for Swift, but I was as rookie as any of them, probably more so. If there was an award for the blondest driver, I think I’d win.

Since most of my life I have been involved in professions in which I was skilled and comfortable, the vulnerability of a strange new one hit me like a ton of brick. I was too dang stubborn to give up. I remember how humiliated I felt the first day in truck driving class January 2017 when I found out I was blonde. I had never been blonde before. In fact, I was the one who usually teased the blinky creatures.

Justice. Day of Judgment. I was now the newest blinky creature. Time to find out how it feels. I had to make a decision. Would I be blonde like Marilyn Monroe? Or would I be blonde like Einstein? I chose Einstein. At least I think that way in my own brain. However I appear to others makes no never mind to me.

Now about those blonde moments…Since it’s important that Einstein is able to laugh at herself, I will share…

When I first started driving solo about the six month mark, I chose a refrigerated van company. I liked the idea of delivering food to the country. It was like I was Mother Maggie and I was fixin’ dinner for all the kiddos in the nation. Children are my favorite people!

I drove to the designated address somewhere in Ohio to pick up a load of seafood. The girl in the office gave me a door and told me to back in and check with the loading manager. I spent thirty minutes backing in. My driving instructor had pounded into my head the importance of G.O.A.L (get out and look.) I had to get it just right.

My most recent profession before CDL class had been designing and manufacturing picky nicky picture perfect embroidered silk pillows and draperies for high-end homes. A quarter inch made a huge difference. When I backed in my truck and I wasn’t exactly centered, I kept trying. Gotta get within that quarter inch mark.

After so many forwards and backwards, I finally got it. Upon embarking my truck, I noticed a couple muscular dock fellows watching me with arms folded across broad chests. There’s something about a gawking dude standing with the arm folding thing accompanied by an all-knowing smirk that speaks a thousand words. And when you get two of those wolf-like creatures together, you can only imagine I felt like a rabbit. But I’m pretty good at pretending to be smart as anyone, and I enjoy good humor. I figured the two men meant no harm with their teasing.

I walked up to the first macho man and gave him my order number. He looked me up and down as though I was wearing a ballgown when it was just a simple prairie dress. “Been truckin’ long?” he asked dryly.

“Six months!” I replied proudly ignoring the sarcasm.

“You doing a live load?” he asked.

“Uh…l-l-live load?” I stuttered. “Um…my order says seafood.”

Buster’s wolfish grin spread as he asked, “You got your trailer pre-cooled to minus ten? We can’t load unless its down to temp.”

“Yes,” I replied confidently, “It’s ready as ordered.”

Buster exchanged a knowing look with his leering partner in crime. Turning to me with one eyebrow quirked, he drawled with mock sincerity, “Bubba, let’s get this lovely lady’s live load loaded!”

Oh, great. Buster and Bubba doing tongue twisters at my expense, just my luck. But I’m no prude. I could enjoy the humor.

However, I was seriously distracted with a horrible thought. It just didn’t add up. Seafood? Minus ten degrees? Live load?

I schooled my perplexity into the most mature and comprehending expression I could muster and asked, “So…what’s with the live load? You mean the fish are alive?”

Bubba and Buster looked at each other over the top of my head and nodded solemnly.

“B-b-but,” I protested. “If it’s down to minus ten, the fish will die!”

The two scalawags appeared to be holding back a great deal of emotion as they looked at each other in mock horror. “That’s right!” Bubba moaned over the top of a giant guffaw. “That’s why you have to drive really fast to get to San Antonio in time before the fish perish.”

“Wait a minute…” I sputtered. “I can’t risk losing a load. What the heck?”

“Don’t worry, mam,” Bubba squeaked as he shook with hiccuping laughter. “If you need to, you can stop in Arkansas and do mouth to mouth resuscitation.”

“This must be an inside joke,” I muttered laughing. “Tell you what, Cheech and Chong. You get this lovely lady’s live load loaded PRONTO while I go find somebody with brains who speaks English.”

I escaped with as much dignity as possible and returned to the office where I quizzed down the personnel to find out EXACTLY what is meant by “live load.” Good grief. We can’t have the fishies dying on us. And no, I’ll forgo mouth to mouth with the slimy critters. I got my vocabulary lesson for that day. Live load? They sure didn’t teach us that in truck driving class. Once again, I added a term and its definition to my truck driving glossary.

Live Load: When Einstein does not drop her trailer, but waits around FOREVER for Cheech and Chong to load her trailer with extremely dead, frozen solid seafood. Hopefully, said driver will still be ALIVE when the clowns are finished clowning.

Blonde moments? Yeah, I’ve had a couple.

From Search for the Highroad, a tale of high adventure

Coming soon on Amazon