Drivers' Corner - Knight of the Highway


I love the feel of the motor as it pulls the truck uphill. It reminds me of tug of war matches. Luckily, my truck wins each match. I love it more going down hill with the jake brake reverberating as I slowly make my way down. When the hills and canyons come together it echoes loudly and as the hills move away the sound fades a bit. It's like the shadow of a truck near sundown. You can watch the shadow of the truck go in and out, long and short, meandering along the banks and drop offs.

Oftentimes I would try to scare a friend riding with me by acting like I wasn't paying attention downhill, though I knew the hill enough to know where to slow down for the turns. So, I pretended I didn't have enough brakes to slow down for the next curve.

I'd ask my victim if he had his seat belt on and told him he had better get a small prayer in really quick. I tried it on my dad once and not even a sweat broke out on his brow. He said, "You've made it all this time in one piece, so I reckon you'll figure something out!" What a party pooper. Of course, I was the closest one of his children that matched his personality and temperament, so it was always hard to pull one over on him.

The sun was slowly working its way up, making a postcard picture of the Blue Mesa Reservoir I was driving along. I could hear dad silently snoring with his head laid up against the window. For his sake I had Merle Haggard singing in the background. We were gliding along quietly as the shadows crept in and out. I reached for my thermos and found only a mouthful of cold coffee. Thankfully, it wasn't to far from Gunnison so I wouldn't have a long to wait for my next fix. For added benefit, there was a McDonalds to greet me with an egg McMuffin and hash brown patty.

I cracked my window and lit a cigarette, waking my dad to his need for one. It was good to have him on board helping dispel the boredom that sometimes finds its way into my cab. It seems he never runs out of stories and if I had heard them before it didn't matter. I enjoyed hearing them again. Not being used to company, I would go hoarse talking so much in a raised voice over the road noise.

That was what I was afraid of when I found the right woman. After the first few days, what would be left to say? What would we talk about? How could I keep talking to make things interesting without her wanting to go out and look elsewhere for a more interesting companion?

I figured to myself that it would be a whole lot easier just being single. Not mess with the hassles that I see couples go through. Yet I kept wanting so much to find a woman to share with...children, too, and maybe even a mangy old dog. Now all of a sudden I take enough time to think about a relationship with a woman and all of a sudden I am in a tug of war between two. One has kids and it felt good thinking of the role of daddy. Alice on the other hand seemed to stand out in my mind. It was as though she was part of a puzzle that seemed to fit in place.

Then I thought how silly that was. I only knew her for two days and I was already thinking she was the missing piece of the puzzle. Nonsense. Total nonsense. It was clear that I needed to get involved with Kathy. That was the common sense approach. She had kids who liked me and I liked them, so why not start with a ready-made family?

My mind was made up. Though we were just parking across from McDonalds, it didn't seem like I was hungry any longer. We went in anyway and I ordered my McMuffin and hash brown. I stared at the food more than ate it, while planning my future action seeking a relationship with Kathy. My dad noticed my absent headedness and knew it had to do with women. Being much older and wiser, he knew not to address that sensitive subject but rather let me agonize over the whole situation solo. My mind was made up. I wanted Kathy and nothing would stand in my way. If only I wasn't gone more time than home. It tended to place an obstacle in the way of relationship building.

We were soon back on the road and I was able to drown out Kathy thoughts with thoughts of trip planning and Connie Francis' singing. I startled my dad who was content from a full stomach and enjoying the tranquility.

"I'm thinking of getting off the road for awhile. I want to start going out with Kathy and hopefully get serious." I said.

"There's plenty of local jobs you can do if that's what you really want. But will you be happy working local?" he asked.

"Of course," I answered, drifting back into my thought world.

Would I really be happy?

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