Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is It a Long Story Grandpa...

I’ve never mentioned it here on cjonline, but I used to drive a truck over the road. And I thought it might be fun to share a story about one of the loads I hauled. But first, I’ll tell you the story of what reminded me of it to begin with. That part’s a story about my 10-year-old grandson, Adam.

Ever since he was about five, Adam has spent Saturday nights with us. We’ve become great buddies and do a lot of stuff together. Currently we’re working on some Star Wars, Robotic Arm thing he got for Christmas. It’s one of those “Easy to Assemble” projects. Yeah right. The stupid thing probably has somewhere around a bazillion pieces. And if you don’t get every single one of them exactly right none of it works.

Well, that’s what happened. We had it all together and when it was time to test it out, two of the fingers wouldn’t move. Hey, it was good enough for me but Adam insisted we take the whole thing apart and fix it. That’s exactly what we did and it’s still sitting there on his table in the basement.

Last Saturday night we decided to give it another shot. We got all the pieces arranged the best we could and got started. It wasn’t long before, Adam decided he really didn’t want to mess with it which was just fine with me. I got on the computer while he entertained himself by going through my boxes of stuff. He dug out one of my old brief cases. It used to be my Dad’s. He used it when was a platform operator for Gulf Oil out in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s black and has his name taped on by one those old ribbon guns. It’s covered with the logos of several different oil field related companies and a bunch of safety awards. Yeah, you could say it has a lot of sentimental value.

I explained to him that it had once belonged to his great grand father and how he gave it to me the night I swung by his house in Lake Charles, Louisiana while I was driving a truck over the road.

Adam seemed genuinely impressed with that part of the story. We opened it up and there were a bunch of my old log books, note books, load information sheets, nationwide fuel stop locations, telephone numbers, pictures, post cards, and pens that don’t work anymore. You know, treasures.

I was looking through the log books when one trip in particular caught my eye. It was a load of chemicals I’d hauled from Taft, Louisiana to a town called Nitro, West Virginia. A hell trip if ever there was one. I asked Adam if wanted to hear the story. He thought about, then said something like, I’m sure it’s a good story grandpa, but is it going to be a long one? I was really hoping I could go upstairs to play my game pretty soon. I couldn’t help but laugh and told him to get his butt up there and get after it then.

So, here’s the deal. Now there’s nobody left to tell my story to except you guys. How about it, are you up to a road trip in a 75,000 lb. truck loaded down with explosive chemicals? Just so you know, this particular trip’s going to involve fun things like truck-stop hookers in Slidell, Louisiana, The Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans, a chemical plant explosion in Nitro, West Virginia, and the E.P.A. It wasn’t one of my favorite runs but it’s one of the one’s I’ll always remember.

Talk to you guys later…

Kevin McGinty

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