Line One
Downshift
Don’t come home from truckin’ with lovin’ on your mind

Bill Hudgins
Columnist

They say spring brings out the romantic in all of us, and maybe it’s true, because lately I’ve seen a lot more guys buying those $5 c-store roses before heading home.

They carry those wobbly little blooms back to the truck at arm’s length, as though they were shields to ward off some anticipated wrath for being a day late.

Trucking is hard on a relationship. No doubt about it.

So, with Mother’s Day coming up, and June weddings after that (does that sound backward to you?), all you married and soon-to-be-hitched guys out there need to polish up your woo-pitching skills.

Show a little appreciation – do the occasional load of your laundry (not hers – women’s laundry rules are more complex than any set of HOS regs) and, a surefire tactic, rub her feet.

Or you might find yourself in a fix like my friend and ace gearjammer, Rufus Sideswipe.

Like a California Highway Patrol officer training for the annual CVSA inspection marathon, love has not been kind to Rufus.

He dropped in the other day to unload about ex-wife No. 3. They were married only a few weeks before she unhooked him, but she has not completely dropped out of his heart. This despite the fact, as he says, “I got the chrome, and she got the home.”

“Her leaving just puzzles me; we got along so well on our honeymoon,” Rufus said, showing me a blurry photo of an unsmiling woman leaning rigidly against a sign in a parking lot that said “No Deliveries After 5 p.m.”

“We went all over the place for two weeks, and when I dropped her off at a bus station to go home, she seemed fine,” he said.

“But when I got back home four weeks later, she had seen a lawyer and filed the papers.

“I can’t understand what it was she found irreconcilable,” he grumped as he scratched some crumbs out of his 5-day-old beard and opened another pack of cigs.

I noticed from his jeans that he had tried several brands of fifth-wheel grease and recently eaten chicken-fried steak for lunch.

Maybe you didn’t call her often enough, I suggested.

He thought briefly, paring his black-rimmed nails with a jackknife, then shook his head.

“Nah, that can’t be it. We were always yakking. Why, I used up a 20-minute phone card talking to her after she went home.”

Well, what did you say when you called? Women like a little romance and not the same old gripes about dispatchers and traffic, I said.

“I always tried to be sweet, you know. Why, last time I called, right before she filed the papers, it was late at night on a West Coast run. She answered on about the 12th ring.

“I said, ‘Honey, I’m hauling cold dead naked chickens out to California, and you just crossed my mind.’ And she hung up! What do you think about that?”

Here’s what I thought: I’m going to steal that line for a country song and sell it to Joey Holiday.

Until next time, be safe, make money and get home often.

Bill Hudgins may be reached at billhudgins@earthlink.net.

Author’s note: I would like to thank “Uglypuppyette” for providing the “cold dead naked chickens” comment, but in an entirely different context.

March/April
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