By Terry Scruton
Of dads and daughters
I have a 3-year-old daughter at home and even though it’s still some 10 years away, I already worry about her becoming a teenager. Especially when you read so much in the news these days about the things some teenagers are up to – sex, drugs, violence. I can only imagine what they will be involved with 10 years from now. And I’m a writer; I have a very active imagination.
One of the biggest worries for a dad, or any parents for that matter, is what kind of kids their children will turn out to be when they get older. We all want the best for our kids. We don’t want them to get mixed up with drugs or sex or alcohol, or at least we want them to be responsible about it if they do (though truthfully we’d rather they didn’t at all, and anyone who says otherwise has never been a parent).
The point is, when you see so many troubled kids in the news – from shoplifters to school shooters – you sometimes worry that no matter how hard you fight, how hard you try, your kid will end up being one of them.
But I met a couple of kids recently who eased my worried mind a bit, and a couple of dads who inspired me and gave me hope that I can do the right things and help my daughter grow up to be the strong, smart, capable woman I know she has the potential to be.
One of those kids, of course, was Jazzy Jordan. I don’t need to tell you who she is, though in case you missed it, here’s the short version: She’s the 17-year-old daughter of OOIDA Member Lee Jordan and she’s running across the country to raise money and awareness for the St. Christopher Fund. I finally got to meet her in person at MATS after having interviewed her on the phone many times. She’s smart, sweet and kind. But more than that, she’s an inspiration to everyone who meets her.
Jazzy spent some time at the Land Line Now booth during the show, and she greeted everyone who stopped by to meet her with a warm smile and a hug and posed for an untold number of pictures. I don’t think I ever saw that smile fade, not once. Her cheeks must have been sore by the end of the day.
And always there, in the background, was proud papa Lee, watching his baby girl with a smile almost as big as her own and keeping one eye out to make sure she didn’t get overwhelmed.
The other kid I met was Savannah Snyder, the teenage daughter of the Arrow Truck Sales Back on the Road Contest winner, OOIDA Member Robert Snyder. It was Savannah who submitted the application that ultimately won her dad the contest. The reason she did it? She wanted to see him smile again.
As I listened to Savannah talk about her dad, it was easy to see how much she loved him. She used to ride with him in his truck during the summer months before things went bad, and now she’s looking forward to getting out there again this summer. And Robert, though he was quiet and didn’t say much, is probably looking forward to it as much as she is.
When you’re a dad, you worry a lot about your kids. You want them to do well, to succeed. You want them to grow up and be strong and healthy, both physically and emotionally. You want to make it through their teenage years without them hating you too much.
When I look at Lee and Jazzy and Robert and Savannah, it gives me hope. It’s refreshing to see that there are still good kids out there, and still good parents right behind them every step of the way.
I can only hope that my daughter will be as brave, smart, caring and giving as Jazzy and Savannah have become. And I can only try to be as good a dad to my daughter as Lee and Robert have been to theirs.
Son of ‘Snakebite’
Fathers and sons engaging in activities together is nothing new. Most fathers will play baseball with their son or take him fishing or teach him how to ride a bike.
For OOIDA Member Bob Heans and his son Brian, father-son bonding is done at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. The pair hails from Fergus, Ontario, and Bob, also known as “Snakebite,” owns a 1978 Chevy Malibu that he races on the International Hot Rod Association circuit. Fifteen-year-old Brian, also known as “Brain,” is in his third year as Bob’s crew chief.
Later this year when he turns 16, Brian hopes to take over as driver of the car – a plan that Bob fully supports. I caught up to the pair, their car and sponsor Rusty Wade, also known as “Yoda,” in the parking lot at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium during the Mid-America Trucking Show and found out more about how they work together and who’s really in charge when they’re on the track.
Bob says they bought the car to take to car shows but decided to race it when their insurance company declined to cover it as a street vehicle. He and Brian started with a 19- or 20-second car. “We’re down to 10 now. And thousands of dollars later, that’s where we are,” Bob said. He calls Brian his best buddy and says the racing wouldn’t mean the same without him.
Rusty’s blog, thepeoplesjournal.com, sponsors Bob and Brian by paying for their race fuel. He says that Bob and Brian are proof that “truck drivers are real people with real families.”
When asked who really calls the shots in this racing team, Brian sums it up saying about his dad, “He likes to think he runs things.” LL