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Cab commander-in-chief

By Bill Hudgins, columnist

The 20th of this month is known as Presidents Day, a federal holiday reverently celebrated with great sales and grade school plays about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Which prompted my friend and ace gearjammer Rufus Sideswipe to wonder what our presidents would have been like as truck drivers?

That led to some interesting speculation …

George Washington: Always first in everything and a natural leader, George Washington would be at the head of any convoy. If any gear jockey could do it, Washington would have found some way to unite truckers to improve conditions. A man who suffered from really bad teeth, he’d have filled up on soup and mac-and-cheese at the buffet. He also liked to flirt, so waitresses from coast-to-coast would’ve known him well.

John Adams: He’d have had a local trucking firm in Boston and hauled beer for his cousin, Sam Adams.

Thomas Jefferson: The president who gave us the Louisiana Purchase was always looking west, so I suspect he’d have been one of the first to ply western routes in long-nosed conventionals. And, oh boy, he’d have known something about any topic you brought up on the CB.

Andrew Jackson: I see Old Hickory in classic Concrete Cowboy attire, lean and craggy and full of vinegar. He had a short fuse, so Andy might have been one of the first CB Rambos.

James K. Polk: As the president who presided over the Mexican War, Polk would have had pretty definite feelings about allowing Mexican trucks to cross into the United States. We obtained California out of that war, so Polk would have driven produce reefers.

Abraham Lincoln: Before becoming president, Lincoln worked as a railroad lawyer. He dreamed of a transcontinental railroad even in the depths of the Civil War. So Lincoln would have been one of the first intermodal drivers – and he’d never be able to stand up straight in a flat-top sleeper. And oh – Honest Abe ALWAYS ran compliant.

Theodore Roosevelt: Teddy would’ve been the guy who always bounces into the truck stop full of get up and go, no matter the time of day nor how many miles he had just put behind him. He’d have carried the biggest tire thumper and would have driven – what else? A Bullydog.

Herbert Hoover: An engineer by training, Hoover would have gone into vocational trucking, piloting things like concrete mixers at big construction sites. And yes, he would have complained about always driving the dam truck.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Definitely a long, LONG hauler. I mean, the man gave us the Interstate system! He’d probably have hooked up with Allied.

Richard Nixon: “Tricky Dick” would have had two sets of logbooks … at least. And whenever he was pulled around back for an inspection, the first thing he’d say would be “I am not a crook.”

Ronald Reagan: Another Western cowboy trucker, Reagan would’ve been the guy you’d have wanted to talk to deep in the night when your life seemed as dark as the invisible landscape. He’d have bought you a cup of coffee, and when you started to veer into the weeds again, chided you out of them by saying, “There you go again!”

Bill Clinton: The owner of Bubba’s Chicken Haulers (dedicated service for Tyson) would be known to every waitress at every diner and buffet line in the Southeast. A lot of people would sell him short, but, in the immortal words of Charlie Daniels (in “Uneasy Rider”) “he might look dumb, but that’s just a disguise.”

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