I only speak for myself because not everyone sees things as I do. It has been extremely frustrating in my life, that people don’t understand my tendency to pick things apart. In fact, I am one of the most analytical people you’ll ever meet. A woman I knew in Pennsylvania used to drill it into me, “Go ahead and analyze it…! she’d blurt out, over the most menial things! In fact, Barbara nicknamed me, “AnalyzeIt”. The other tag she hung on me was, “Nit Picking Virgo”! She learned that the silence before I spoke or reacted to something meant that the wheels were churning! Not many people I’ve met in my life have realized to what degree I seek perfection.
Though never officially diagnosed, I am certain that I am afflicted with OCD! It has been a blessing, and a curse. I am truly, my own worst critic. In the several million miles I have traveled across this continent, there have been countless opportunities to stop and take in the view. I have experienced the privilege of walking in the Salt Flats with my daughter. I’ve walked Skip along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve delivered product in Brownsville Texas, and picked up loads in Aberdeen Washington. Ashley and I tossed a baseball during a layover in Eastport Maine… She and Skip were with me for numerous loads off of the ships near Camden New Jersey. Truly, I have been from the geographic Eastern end of this country, to the geographic Western borders. I have been fortunate.
And though the collection of thousands of photographs I have stored away, will document the places I’ve been, and some of the people I’ve met, my commitment to “the job” always came first. I often raced by “places” that in my mind I wanted to return to “when I have more time”. I may have had hours, even DAYS available before a load had to be delivered, but my goal was always, “customer first”. That train of thought DID HAVE its rewards. Customers I dealt with were pleased when the 42,000 pounds of freight arrived a day early. Allowing them more time to plan distribution or storage. In fact, that reputation worked to my benefit. I had a produce broker in Kansas City who knew, if there was a deadline, he could count on me to meet, if not beat it! Often, the folks at C & C Produce in Kansas City offered up financial “bonuses” to have product delivered in a timely manner. More than once I loaded produce along the coast in California, and delivered in Kansas City 25 hours later. I know, I know there are log books and rules governing the operation of over the road trucks, and I DID stop when I knew I had to. But thanks to my desire for perfection and eagerness to please people, combined with the fact that I operated as an “Independant” those around me knew I could be counted on, to deliver. “Funny Books” be damned, I knew how to work a log book from my experience during the cattle hauling days!
Unfortunately, that same trait caused me to fly by places I wanted to visit. I wanted to take the time to walk in the Mojave Dessert. I wanted to return to Bridal Falls in Utah. I wanted to go trout fishing in Montana… Since my shattered shoulder and subsequent spinal surgeries in the past 3 years, I have finally had the time to reflect on the places I’ve been and compile a sort of mental “bucket list” of places I would like to return to. There have been places I have passed, which I planted in my memory; “I’d like to go back there, and simply walk with my sketch pad and camera. I’d like to explore the river bank, smell the flowers… But at the time, my mind told me, “Right NOW, I have this load to deliver.”
Without digging out the scrapbooks and photo files, I can still picture an old run down Southern Mansion near Valdosta Georgia that I found while skirting the Northbound scales near the 22 mile marker on I-75. It was an extremely narrow two-lane road, and I was dragging around a heavy 53 foot trailer when I spotted the place. Nowhere to stop, no room for the Western Star and her cargo… But, I planted in my mind, “I’d love to come back here with the camera and sketch pad…”
There are hundreds of locations like that, which I hope some day, I have the ability to return, to pursue my “artistic rendition” of these places. Meanwhile, the paintings and drawings of some of these scenes and strictly from memory…
Thanks for listening… And of course, for supporting my artistic endeavors…