Saturday, August 3, 2013

White Line Fever

Pretty much all of us had a dream job in mind when we were growing up.  I remember doing reams of research on becoming an airline hostess.  Of course back then you had to be 21 to get hired and you know I was no good at waiting even then.  So I did a few other things, you know the Navy thing and all, then fell into what feels natural - teaching. 

But some folks have a dream and follow it through for better or for worse.  Case in point: my little brother Ronnie.  From the time he was a little boy and his namesake, my father's brother Ray, set him up in the cab of his semi rig Ronnie was hooked.  That's all he ever talked about growing up.  And as soon as he was out of school he took his first truck driving job and never looked back. 

So has it all been good?  I'm sure it's been a mix of bad and good.  I do recall him coming off the road a time or two and trying his hand at other jobs, but the lure of the road always called him back.  These days we have a few things in common, or should I say a few miles in common.  We both run up and down the same highways although we have a different approach to schedules and reaching destinations. 

When I hit the road I avoid major highways and the interstates if possible because I know all those 18 wheelers like him are in a hurry to make the next pick up or delivery.  And I think it's a long day if I cover 300 miles while he does that much or more before lunch.  He also has to put up with slow drivers, crazy drivers, construction, detours, and whatever else the universe can throw out on the highway in front of him. 

During the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma I saw where truckers and their trucks were thrown off the highway and those that were left on the road had to contend with holding control in wind and baseball sized hail.  Of course I called Ronnie and was thrilled to find him waiting on a load in New Jersey far from the storms. 

One week found him back on I40 running through Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  We talked a couple of times and tried to find a time he could stop off near where I was in Oklahoma and share a meal and conversation but that darn schedule thing got in the way again.  "Maybe next time, Sis," he told me. 

Was I disappointed?  Well yeah.  I can count on one hand how many times our paths have crossed in the past 5 years.  So how do I feel?  Honored to know my brother is still following his dream.  He never lost sight of it.  He never let it slip away.  And even when it's really tough and he knows there are easier ways to make a living the dream still calls.  And he follows it. 

So happy 55th little brother.  Hope it's a good one for you.  And stop by if you get close to me.

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