Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seeing People I Care About on the Road

Seeing people I care about on the road. The last time I wrote I was on my way to Florida to deliver a load to a Wal-mart distribution center in Alachua. I mentioned hoping to see an old friend while I was there.

My next load was to pick up Monday morning in Blakely, Georgia, and delivery the same day to a Kimberly-Clark facility in Mobile, Alabama.

So, Sunday afternoon, I was able to visit with my old buddy Van. We had lunch at a small place in Live Oak, and we were able to get caught up with each other. Very nice.

I drove up to Blakely, Monday morning (I had spent the night at a truck stop in Tallahassee Sunday night) and was loaded with crushed cardboard that was going to be recycled by Kimberly-Clark. It was neat that the place I picked up was a work site for people with various sorts of physical and mental challenges. I was greeted enthusiastically when I arrived by about 30 folks standing around outside the place, and when I left, I was sent off with gusto as well, with several folks waving and wishing me a safe trip or good day. It was very endearing.

I got over to Mobile yesterday afternoon, and told Schneider I'd be available Tuesday morning because I was out of hours to run on my 70 (which means that you can only work/drive 70 hours in 8 days). I actually went over my limit by about 45 minutes.

My Daddy happens to be working in Mobile at the moment (this is the last week they are there; next week they are supposed to go down to south Florida), so I was able to call him and we met for supper last night and then visited for quite a while. I had stopped at the Pilot in Satsuma, just north of Mobile, to take my break.

The last time I saw my Daddy was when Terry and I were passing through Denver a few months ago.

This morning (well, it's technically yesterday morning now since it's after midnight as I write this), I picked up a load at another Kimberly-Clark facility down in Theodore (just west of Mobile) and I'm taking it up to the Schneider OC in Charlotte, North Carolina (which is where I went to Schneider's truck driving school three years ago). I made it as far as Atlanta before shutting down (I normally would have driven further, but ran into my hours limitations again).

Of course, I'm only 80 miles away from where most of my family lives, but since my car is in Dallas still, going up there was not a practical option. I thought about calling one of my best friends, Tim, who lives up in Marietta, to see if he wanted to do something, but it was such short notice, and I was sleepy when I got to Atlanta, so I decided to skip that.

I was going to just take a nap, but slept from about 5:00 pm until just about an hour ago.

So, this narrative of the past few days of my life on the road prompts a couple of overall thoughts: (1) one of the things that makes driving all over the country so enjoyable to me are those special times I get to go through areas where I have friends or family. The past few days provides two good illustrations of that. It is neat to be able to see folks all over the place that I normally wouldn't get to see as often, if ever.

Of course, there is a trade-off on that front as well: in driving all over the country, especially staying out for months at a time like I have chosen to do, I don't see many of the people in my family or friends that I care about as often as I might otherwise (such as when I was living in Rome for 15 months so I could help take care of my grandmother). But, except for that short time, I haven't lived near my family in Georgia for the last 25 years, so that was an anomaly (though a good one).

Nevertheless, trade-offs and anomalies notwithstanding, I love driving over the road, and one of the things that lends some variety and joy to that experience is getting to see folks I care about in different places.

And to continue the original thought from three paragraphs above: (2) When I was visiting with my Daddy last night, I was reminded how fortunate I am to have a close relationship and friendship with both of my parents. I stay in touch with both of them through phone calls, and rely on both of them for their support and friendship. I am lucky to be very close to my sister also, and count her as one of my best friends. I'd be honored to count her as a friend even if we weren't related.

My parents were literal lifesavers to me in ways they may not even fathom, especially several years ago when I was struggling with illness and then the disintegration of my marriage (all of which was punctuated by deep internal struggle and change). I have friends – good ones – and I'm thankful for every one of them, but I am doubly blessed to be able to count my Mama and Daddy in that number.

Elections. As I write this, Mitt Romney has just won the Republican primary up in Michigan. I was hoping McCain would win and solidify his standing, but, on the other hand, it's exciting to see the contest still going on for the ultimate nomination. I'll spare you any more commentary on that front.

That's about it for this time.

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . . as long as you have hours to run . . .


No comments: