Line One
Roses & Razzberries

ROSE to the truckers who reported to the authorities after hearing a man on a CB say that he was headed to Washington, DC, with a van full of explosives. While it turned out that there weren’t any explosives in the van, we say, “better safe than sorry.” And while we’re at it, a RAZZBERRY to the mainstream media, which repeatedly reported that the man was a trucker, in spite of the fact that he was driving a van. Somebody get those people a dictionary. Preferably one with pictures.

Speaking of misinformation in the media, a RAZZBERRY goes out to The Tuscaloosa News. In the obituary for former OOIDA member and well-known trucker/photographer Richard McGrew, the paper listed him as Richard McGreene. Anyone know a fact checker looking for work?

A Land Line reader sends a ROSE to the truck driver who helped her when she found herself stranded at a rest area in Kentucky. The woman and her husband were parked at the rest area when she told her husband she was going to use the rest room, which he apparently didn’t hear. When she returned, their truck was gone. With no cell phone and no money, she wandered the parking lot looking for help. Before long, she came upon another truck driver. After she explained the situation, the driver graciously let her use his cell phone to call her husband, who, we are sure, was quite red-faced when he returned to the rest stop to pick up his wife. We also imagine he’s probably a much better listener than he was before.

A loud RAZZBERRY goes to the city of Schenectady, NY, which is trying to ban trucks from residential areas following an enormous public outcry from an angry mob of one resident. This person - who may have been involved in a neighborhood feud, according to one media report - complained to city officials about being woken up every morning by the sound of his neighbor’s diesel warming up. Meanwhile, the brain trust in the City Council has approved a rule that allows residents to pay $50 to get permission to bypass the city’s noise ordinances so they can have loud parties without interference from the police. A suggestion for truck drivers in Schenectady: The next time your neighbors complain about your engine being too loud, pay the $50 and tell them you’re having a truck warming party.

A big shipment of RAZZBERRIES goes to Wal-Mart, specifically the store in Oak Grove, MO. After spending who knows how much time and money to fight against putting fuel surcharge legislation into the Highway Bill, the retail giant had the nerve to display a sign at its Oak Grove store reading, “Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola support our truckers.” We’re glad to hear it. Somebody’s going to have to support them when they go out of business because they can’t afford the high cost of fuel anymore.

OOIDA Life Member Fred Lapp offers a ROSE to John Battle, the general manager of a Fast Track fuel station near Monticello, FL. In early September - a time when most stations were selling diesel for close to $3 per gallon in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - Battle was still selling diesel at his station for $2.59 per gallon. Lapp said he asked Battle why he wasn’t raising prices like everyone else. Battle said he bought the fuel at a certain price, so why should he mark it up more? Lapp said Battle told him it was the right thing to do. If only the oil companies could be that well educated on the difference between right and wrong.

We ordinarily don’t do this, but Land Line would like to extend a ROSE to loyal reader Darrell Barnes Sr., who died July 29, at age 75. Barnes was such a loyal reader that Land Line was the only magazine he read. Bunny, his wife of 47 years, said that he would grab the magazine as soon as it came in the mail, and she wouldn’t even see it until he had read all of it. A Korean War veteran who started in the trucking industry in 1968, Barnes will be missed by his wife and four children, including OOIDA member Darrell Jr. Though we never knew him, we at Land Line are saddened to know there is one less pair of eyes reading these words.

By Senior Writer Terry Scruton. He may be reached at terry_scruton@landlinemag.com