Greg Note: "Tales From the Road" are some short stories that my father wrote, that I found on his computer when he passed away in 2012. I found them quite interesting and entertaining and wanted to share them here.
Tales from the Road - 7AM Appointments
It looks like I can go four or five loads and all of the appointments seem to be at 0700. Now I can count on a 7AM appointment every Monday and the delivery is usually at least 250 miles away and most of the time, in the 400-500 mile range. That means that I have to leave Sunday morning or early afternoon to make the appointment time. No problem, I don't mind driving Sunday afternoons and evenings, so it works out OK. I don't like leaving at midnight or 0100 cuz I am at the end of my limit by noon. I've driven for 14 hours and still alert, but to start out the week with a day like that, means that I could have one of those miserable weeks when everything is out of kilter if I get some crossways loads with pickups in the afternoon, 600 miles to go and a 0700 delivery. Makes for a mean week.
Anyway, I have had a few loads going up to the Tennessee, North Georgia area and I leave Sunday morning. By the time I have logged out for the day and can't fudge anymore, I am in north Alabama and I stop at the truck stop around Fort Payne, Alabama. It isn't one of the new plastic places....you know the kind...full of franchised plastic food. I don't like those truck stops: too many trucks packed in too tight and the 1/4 mile walk to the restuarant/parts house/shower/franchised food building through six rows of idling trucks and down ten or fifteen trucks on the last row, and once I get into the buillding, I am bombarded by the noise from those damned video game rooms. That's not my cup of tea. Traffic jams...I've seen some doozies in the busy ones with some harsh words being exchanged on the CB. Naw, not for me...life's too damned short to have to put up with that. So I look for the old fashioned truck stops with real kitchens, waitresses in real clothes, not dacron uniforms with silly hats.
Now on this trip up to Kentucky, I hit the log wall about the time I got to Fort Payne and took the exit to the truck stop. Parked on the side of the attached motel and went in for the required cup of coffee and trip to the not-so-modern facility. It was sufficient for the needs and sat in the booth in the cafe. That big tall blond gal was in there and I got my cup of coffee, finagled the log a little, not much...Interstate all the way so I averaged 65 mph and had my 675 miles. Figured out the mileage to go and saw that I had to have about 4.5 hours to get there for the appointment time. I added an hour and saw that I had to be gone for 0130. Drank the coffee, went out to the truck, set the "Screaming Meamie" for a 0100 wakeup and put it to bed.
"Meamie" woke me up at ten to one and I got it dressed and walked to the cafe for a cup to wake up. Sitting there was one other driver and the waitress. Now when I am just waking up, I sit down enjoy a couple of cups and find I am reading everything in sight. Menus, signs behind the counter, creamer packets, neon signs across the road, catchup bottles....anything. I happened to look in the glass doored cooler by the kitchen door and was reading all the labels I could see and there was a great one..."Mayonaise, heavy duty"!
That woke me up! Heavy duty mayonaise? Now, I've seen heavy duty oils, heavy duty soap, heavy duty gloves, heavy duty lawn mowers, shovels, trucks, weedeaters, socks, clothes, thermos jugs, etc. But heavy duty mayonaise?
I turned to the waitress (not the big blond gal) and said, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure", was the reply.
"Just what is heavy duty mayonaise and how is it heavy duty?"
"What you mean?"
"Well, I was reading the labels in that cooler over there and that gallon jug on the left is labeled "heavy duty mayonaise" and I was wondering what heavy duty mayonaise was. Why is it heavier duty than regular mayonaise?".
"Well, it's a lot thicker and heavier. You can take a handful and it won't fall apart. Use it for sandwiches, for making dressing for salads and other stuff."
"Uhhhh, do you reach in the jug a lot and take a handful?"
"Naw...I'm just saying you could."
Relieved, I said, "Oh...OK. Just wondering, there."
I paid for the coffee, left a tip, hit the John and headed out up 59. The thought of heavy duty mayonaise occupied the time well past Knoxville and I-75. Now heavy duty grease doesn't break down with heat, heavy loads and sticks where it is put. Heavy duty mayo...I got to wondering if it wouldn't break down like regular mayo and did it coat the plumbing and if it didn't break down...*Nope..I ain't going there!*
Well, with all of the careful planning, I was running about 1/2 hour behind, but since I had added an hour, I was still in time even with the slow down in the construction zones and there are a LOT of construction zones. Got to the guard shack, checked in and was told I was a half hour late and would have to wait for an open slot.
"Whoa! I'm a half hour early...my appointment is at 7 AM and it's 6:30 now."
"Nope...it's 7:30 now. This is Eastern Standard Time."
My watch is on Central. Oh well...didn't have to wait long...Wally's boys are quick and they have a lot of doors and I spent the time pondering that heavy duty mayonaise. Got unloaded pretty quick and since it was about noon for my stomach, headed for the truck stop by the Interstate. Another rather old truck stop and got a cup of coffee and decided to order a hamburger.
"Give me a hamburger, fries, more coffee. Everything on the burger 'cept cheese. Mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and mayonaise."
"OK, Honey. More coffee?"
"Yep, het it up. And, oh, by the way, is that mayo regular or heavy duty?"
"What? Heavy duty mayonaise? Honey, you're going to settle for regular ol' mayonaise. Never heard of heavy duty mayonaise. Heard of lite, but it ain't as good on a hamburger as regular. Heavy duty mayonaise?"
Relieved, I took a sip of coffee while I read the sugar and creamer packs, ketchup bottle, hotsauce and jelly packs on the table. Gonna have to call Glenn and Dale...wonder where they're going to send me today? Probably down to Oklahoma with a 7:00 AM appointment for tomorrow morning. Oh well...at least they ain't trying to get me to go to the Bronx like they wanted me to last week. Ain't going to the Bronx...rather eat heavy duty Anasazi Beans first or heavy duty cabbage or heavy duty tofu or...
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