Keep on Truckin' This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Yeah, that's my pride andjoy right there. The 1975 conventional Peterbilt parked in the back row of thelot across the street. Yeah, it's the one that says "Don't look UP" onthe bottom of the door and has got "Hoss" proudly painted on the bugflector. Yeah, she's got more lights on her than Las Vegas, and if you ever seethe cruising Christmas tree comin' through, just smile and wave, 'cause you knowI got some truckin' to do.

I just stopped here to get a quick bite toeat, then it's down to Atlanta by daybreak. That ol' girl's made this run moretimes than I can remember. She ain't the classiest rig around but she's prettymuch the only thing I've got to show for these days. And you can believe me, sheain't goin' to waste any of your time gettin' you where you need to be either.Guess it helps when you got friends like I do, though. I got a buddy, Tom, backwhere I'm from up in Pennsylvania who can turn up these old Cummins greaseburners like nobody I know. Nights like this I'm all right, but I can't push hertoo hard in the daylight or them damn cops will get you for them smoke laws. It'snice to have the power though, ain't nothin' like pushin' all them outta the leftlane, runnin' through them mountains. Yeah, I'll make you think twice before yougo on tryin' to pass this ol' girl.

She's really been quite the home awayfrom home for me, though. I'll tell you what, you'd be lucky if you could rent anapartment as nice as that sleeper I got on there. Hell, I got a bunk up in therewith a refrigerator and a microwave underneath, and still plenty of room to storewhatever. I got a regular-size TV and a satellite dish hooked up in the back.There's a VCR too, but damn, I don't think I've used that thing once. Ain'thardly got enough time to sleep and eat, not to mention watch a movie. But talkabout efficiency, I can lie in bed, reach down and grab a beer and a bite to eat,switch stations and not even have to get up. Bet you can't do that at yourhouse.

It's nice to try and find humor in some of it. As much as I try notto think about it, I can't deny that this ol' girl's really my home, seein' asI'm on the road so much. Feels like I'm actually away when I get to see the wifeand kids, this ol' highway's the only thing I really seem to know anymore.

I been runnin' the East Coast for damn near 25 years now, and each year Igotta push that little bit harder, drive that little bit farther just to makeends meet. Extra day of work never hurt nobody, right? It'd just be nice if I hadsomething more to show for it. Everything I got goes back home to make sureJunior and my little girl are gettin' brought up right. I know it's hard on them,me never being around and all, but I do my damnedest when I'm home to make surethey know I love 'em. The old lady knows I love her too, Lord knows she's theonly thing that's kept me goin' all these years. I've met my share of women onthe road over the years, but I never could bring myself to give in to any of 'em.Must be the ring on my hand, and the kids' smiling faces. And the look in the oldlady's eyes when I step in the door after bein' gone. It's things like that Iwouldn't change for the world, know what I mean?

I can't help but regretsome of it though. It seems like I'm missing out. Junior's already in highschool, startin' on the varsity football squad and he's only a freshman. Thatkid's twice the athlete I ever was. Little bit bigger than me and strong as anox. I'll tell you what, I wouldn't mess with him, but I'll never tell him that.The coaches say they ain't seen a player like him come through in years, and Ijust wish I wasn't always on the road so I could see what they're talkin' about.I'd give anything just to sit in those stands and say, "Yeah, that's my boyout there, the one kickin' all those other kids' tails." Maybe someday whenthe work's caught up I'll make it, someday when there aren't so many miles to go.Someday when we get them extra couple hours on the clock, you know what I mean.If it were only that easy.

I got my little girl, too, to worry about.She's one of the prettiest things I've ever seen. I don't know how she got tolookin' like that after seein' me, but she's happy and that makes me happy.Pretty soon them boys down the road will be stopping by more often. Guess I'llhave to take the ol' 12-gauge out of the truck and keep it handy. Scare some ofthem boys off, if you know what I mean. Aw hell, I'm just joking with you, I'dnever take that gun out of the truck.

Not only am I missin' out seein' thekids, but only getting the chance to see the old lady once or twice a week isgetting old, too. Don't get me wrong, we make up for lost time, if you know whatI mean. It'd just be nice to take her out once in a while, let her know how muchshe means to me.

Anyways, it's nice to run into a friendly stranger likeyou here and there, you know what I mean. I didn't mean to unload my life storyon you, but it just makes it easier to get some of these thoughts out of my head.So thanks again and good luck to you. I gotta run, that ol diesel's been burnin'fuel since I got off to eat. Those things don't run on air, you know. Anyways, ifyou're ever on the highway and see this ol' rig flyin' by you in the left lane,don't mind the sign at the bottom of the door and give me a honk and a wave. It'salways nice seein' a familiar face out on the road.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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