Stories in the Rear View Mirror

Delta Daggett

I like trucks, always have and probably always will. As a kid, 5-6-7, I would go down to the truckline and find a truck with the door unlocked and get in it and proceed down highway10 en route to the West Fargo stockyards with my imagination but with my hands on a real truck steering wheel.  

Sometimes, Roger Harmer would come along with me and he reminded me recently how years later, we used to go from truck to truck, checking ash trays for long enough cigarette butts that we could light up and smoke. Another frequent stop for us was his grandpa’s garage next door where he had a shop. We built or tried to build many things in that garage.    

I guess that was one of the reasons my grades never excelled while passing through 16 years of formal education. Had a hard time concentrating if my mind wandered to travel or trucks or cars or girls.

When I travel in a car, I check out each truck that I pass, and if someone else is driving, I do a thorough inspection of the truck, checking out springs, air bags, or loose hoses or metal. Habits are hard to break.  

About a week after Karen and I were married, we headed for Albuquerque, New Mexico, where my four children were living with my first wife. We traveled across states where cattle were raised and where we had loaded cattle or delivered cattle over the years. Most of the time we were on two-lane highways where it was easy for me to swing through a stockyards or sales barn if it was next to the highway.  

I wanted to see whose trucks were there and what their equipment looked like. The same tour was taken at truck stops as I drove through the lot, checking out trucks that were parked there.   Forty-eight years later, Karen still talks about her honeymoon that was spent touring stockyards and truck stops. I still like to check out truck stops.

A few years ago, we were gaining on a truck and one of the trailer wheel bearings failed and the bearing shot out across the highway in front of us. We could see the fire going round and round in the wheel hub when we passed. The driver was wise to keep driving until he got to a town where a fire department could extinguish the fire if it started to burn a tire. Out on the highway shoulder he would have been by himself with one fire extinguisher which has a hard time handling a wheel or tire fire.    

I have blown tires on both trucks and trailers and it makes a loud noise and sometimes shreds tires into pieces that fly all over. This is why I get nervous when a car slowly creeps by my truck when passing. I want to tell them, kick off the cruise control and get by me as quickly as you can. 

A week ago, I saw a 30-minute documentary on TV about the recent Truckers Convoy that ran from California to Washington, D.C. The reporter rode along and picked three drivers as subjects of his story. Two were your stereotype truckers, truck stop fed with beards, one was neatly trimmed. The third was an accountant, I do not know if a CPA, but worked for a large accounting firm. A college grad in accounting and economics who distressed his family and friends when he told them he was bored working on the fourth floor of an office building so quit his job and bought a truck and trailer.

The accountant still looked like an accountant and was really enjoying driving across states he said were often regarded as “fly over land”.  He said “my office view changes every day.”

The three of them all appeared frequently in the video, sometimes on a camera in the truck while they were driving. All mentioned how rewarding their job was to them in delivering things that people needed and used. They exhibited courage not fear, in their necessary job of helping to keep the store shelves stocked during the lockdowns. They also mentioned the freedom their driving job afforded them. It gave them the independence they craved.

None of them ranted or raved but just told the reporter how they felt and why they were participating in the convoy. They all felt they represented Americans who regarded rules and regulations as needed, but should be formed with more common sense. Amen to that!

They also talked about how supportive they felt by the crowds of people gathering to cheer them on as they passed by, or when they were stopped. They reported receiving bills of $100, sometimes in multiples, by people who approached them while they were fueling.    

One of them was an older lady, who they said was obviously not well-off financially, who gave each driver a small bible with $5 in it. Gifts of kindness like these confirmed they wanted to remain in the convoy.

Trucking is one of those many industries that has true patriots that love their country and are proud to be an American. So many jobs are carried out every day by people behind the scenes but go to work every morning to get the job done. 

The positive reaction of Americans as the convoy traveled to Washington made them proud to have participated in this demonstration and protest against over regulation and over control of citizens by the government. Many other professions also had to work everyday, public safety, medical personnel, etc., even though their governors exhibited only fear in keeping their states locked down.