“LOVE MY TRUCK DRIV’IN MAN”
WHEN I WAS LITTLE TRUCKER’S USED TO STOP IN AT OUR “SUPPER CLUB!” I need to explain that I have had a deep affection for truckers from the time I was little. The supper club where I grew up, in “Southern” Minnesota, was about a half mile from Highway 60 which even though it is an old two lane highway, with the nearest town being three miles away on either side, it is the major run way to several towns in the whole south part of the state. Truckers have driven this road day and night for years to deliver to these little towns. Well, you might call them towns, populations of around 300 – no, I left – 299 – they never did replace me - just kidding! I love these places; they held my world and are always in my heart. But, the truckers would stop in at the supper club, sometimes staying overnight if they had a few drinks. Grandpa always had a bed for anyone needing to stay over. I loved singing and playing for them. They were fun to be around. And, I loved hearing their stories. Anyway, Hwy 60 still is one of the major roads to get to and from most of the towns in this area.
A TRUCKER PICKS ME UP ONE DAY AT THE AGE OF TWELVE, WHEN I HAD DECIDED TO RUNAWAY. At the age of twelve came a memorable moment that would connect me to truckers for my life. I had decided to run away. Things were just not going that well. My grandparents had shut down the club, so I was a bit restless. I wanted to see the world and make some new friends. So, I took a tiny suitcase and went and stood down on the highway. I was only twelve, but extremely well developed. See the photo here of me in my red dress; I am only 11 years old there. I had put on some weight as a child, (the food was great at the supper club) so as I began to bloom early with all the extra padding! I looked dangerously GOOD!
Well, this is where the trucker thing happens as this truck came along and stopped for me, finally. I think I stood on that highway for a long time, maybe even ate a sandwich. Not many cars or trucks on this little road passing me by. But this truck driver stopped. I got in his big truck. He asked me where I was headed and I told him wherever he was going would be fine with me. So, we headed down the road. I am thinking that I should marry him. It would be perfect. I was falling in love as we drove away. But this man, bless his heart, he suggested we stop for a bite to eat as he said he was hungry. Remember I had eaten a sandwich; I was just wanting to drive, and get going. But we stopped. He could have been a murderer or something. I never thought about the danger.
But this man was nice: he convinced me to go back home. Now, how he managed to do that task, I will never know, but he drove me back which was an extra twenty miles, or forty miles round trip, out of his way. He told me to just take it easy, grow up a bit more, and that one day he would come by to see how I was doing. Anyway, I ended up back home. I don’t know his name, but he has always been in my prayers, as he could have done anything he wanted with me, and he didn’t. He cared about me. He took me home safely. I never ran away from home again. Well, I didn’t have to, as my grandparents died shortly thereafter. I felt bad about trying to run away, as I lived my whole life wishing I could just be a little girl living there in Greenland. Anyway, during my years of turmoil and hardships, if I stopped in a truck stop again these highway journeymen and women have always been so good to me. Truckers are most special!!!
I HAVE BEEN PROTECTED BY TRUCKERS ON EVERY TRIP ACROSS THIS COUNTRY FROM CALIFORNIA TO MINNESOTA.
I have gone back and forth to Minnesota many, many times, including once by myself, and even driven thru Texas, county to county looking for my real Dad, and to Pennsylvania. I do not think I have ever sat in a trucker coffee shop without someone offering to buy me something to eat. They always want to feed you. The soul’s of these people is so pure and genuine. I always found and still find a peace in being around the trucking people. They will give the shirt off their back to someone in need.
TRUCKERS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THIS COUNTRY. THEY ARE HARD WORKING HONEST MEN AND WOMEN. AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT TRUCKS ARE BAD, AND JUST PUT ROCKS ON “YOUR CAR” WELL, MAYBE “YOU” ARE FOLLOWING “TOO, TOO CLOSE.”
So many people I know will tell me, ‘You sing at Truck stops? I hate those trucks……they put rocks on my car.” And, I say, “Well, maybe you are “driving too close.” These men and women live worse than someone in prison. Most drivers don’t have “a bed and toilet.” I have a funny story to tell. One night, in Upland, Ca -An astute neighborhood, I was at dinner with a group of women from some political event. I told them that I had to go perform in Fontana, Ca, okay, it has a bad reputation. I don’t know why, it is just a poor community. Anyway, the one woman says. “My car won’t drive there. It has never been in such a place.” I am thinking, “Lady, I know you are lonely, and I know some great guys at “Loretta’s” who work hard and would love to make your life a little more fun.” So, I was determined to take them “all: with me. And, I did. They had a ball. One of these gals, who actually had been a “Playboy”, ended up meeting a guy and I attended the wedding. This evening became one of the best nights of their lives.
My personal life took me in other directions, but truckers have been so good to me time after time when I have been traveling; or when I would go see my Mom in Ontario, California. I lived in Beverly Hills so I would tell my friends that my Mom lived in Ontario, Canada. Yeah! Ontario, California was not exactly a happening place, as it actually is today. My Mom said one day it would be a major metro area – and I would say, “Sure, Mom.” But she and I would go eat pie at the 76 Truck Stop in Ontario and laugh and talk for hours; or once when my Mom and I traveled back from Minnesota and we ended up in a blizzard in Wyoming, and we had to get back to California as my Mom was driving a car across country for money, and a trucker team bought us a steak dinner and then a bottle of whiskey to put in the car. And, then one of the guys got in our car to drive. We made it home, traveling on the tail of the big rig. It was fun!!!
THESE “HIGHWAY HAULER TROOPS” ARE MY FAVORITE AUDIENCE!!! I LOVE PLAYING AT THE TRUCK STOPS! DRIVERS ENCOURAGE ME TO KEEP ON WRITING AND PLAYING.
God bless those guys. I realized that you can school the girl, but you can not take away the heart, I find myself constantly wanting to sing more and more for my truckers. The hard working, loving folks who make this whole world exist. No trucks: No food!!!! No trucks: No pretty clothes!!! No trucks: No much of anything. I believed I would be doing musical plays and films as I pursued my education, but when I go play at a truck stop, I find my heart happy playing the music I love. Anyway, after a gig out at the Truck Stops of America in Ontario, CA, I wrote this song! I got home from there and thought about a couple of the guys I had met that day. In particular, one man who was calling home to tell his wife he would be there soon. He was happy. And, the love I saw in these men and women warmed my heart. Guys showing me photos of their families. One guy did not have money on him to buy a CD, as he said well my wife gets the checks. I gave him a CD! But I thought about how lucky, and lonely as well, these women are, and how I would feel if I was a wife to a trucker. I also know that these men and women work hard out there without a toilet or shower.
FOR “TRUCKER’S APPRECIATION WEEK,” THIS AUG., 2004, I JUST PLAYED A SERIES OF CONCERTS AT “THE TRUCK STOPS OF AMERICA” IN ONTARIO, CA. WHAT A BLAST!
I play for truckers whenever and wherever possible, and will be doing a “LOVE TOUR” this fall thru next spring. Great audience! I meet so many wonderful people! The Ontario, CA TA is one of my favorite spots. And, who would have thought, the same place my Mom and I would go eat pie at for years, I would now be playing my music to the crowd. We are hoping to film our music video/documentary out there. The managers are great; and I still love the food!!! This past Thanksgiving there, I was singing and this man I saw tears running down his face. At break he came up to me, and said, he enjoyed the music so much, and especially this song. And I thought, how blessed I was to be able to write a song that touched someone so deeply.
I HOPE THIS SONG TELLS AMERICA THE HEART OF MOST OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OUT ON THE ROAD: THEY ARE JUST TRYING TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES, AND THEY WORK HARD.
I hope this song helps let people know that these people need to be respected, and that when they see a truck on the road, be respectful to the person driving it. Yes, and providing for all of us. These drivers provide our needs; sleep in little spaces; without bathrooms; do not get to go home at night and play with their children; and, wait hours in lines on the highway and when they deliver! So THERE!
Anyway, thanks for listening to my song, Love My Truck Driv’in Man! And don’t forget to give a honk and a wave to the next big rig you see.
Photos arranged and taken by Michael Twamley
Song: LOVE MY TRUCK DRIV’IN MAN