Saturday, June 20, 2009

26,000 Pounds of Lunchmeat

Pulling out of the truck stop. See ya later, alligator
All pictures in this post were taken
6/20/09 in East Missoula, Montana

NOTE PLEASE: Clicking on any photograph will open a full-screen version of that photo in a separate window. All links also open in a separate window.

Late last night, I heard the screen door slam,
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man.
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
They paved paradise put up a parking lot

--Joni Mitchell

To hear Joni Mitchell sing Big Yellow Taxi, click here.

This one will be short. It's mostly a "I'm feeling sorry for myself" thing--a feeling I need to get over. So, feel free to tell me, "Get over it Blanche!"

Last Thursday, June 18th, Kevin announced that he'd just been hired as an OTR (Over the road) driver. He would be leaving on Saturday, the 20th, heading to Portland, Oregon and from there he'd continue in a loop that would bring him through Missoula 2-3 times a month. Now I know that Kevin has been a long-haul trucker before, and I know that he enjoys the call of the road. I also know that with the death of his mother two weeks ago, he has felt that there really isn't anything holding him in Missoula. (Well, actually, he said there wasn't anything holding "us" in Missoula, but that overlooks 30+ years of history for me.)

The Large and the Small
I prefer the Saab Convertible--but you already knew that didn't you.

Many times in the past year Kevin has suggested that I should get my CDL (Commercial Driver's License), that we should buy our own tractor (that's the real name for what most of us refer to as a truck), that we should sell the Missoula house and hit the road. I've resisted this for several reasons.

As you all should be aware by now, the title of this blog is "If there were witchcraft." That refers to a song we used to sing around the campfire at church camp when I was a child. I have taken the words of that song as my life's goal. Certainly part of the goal is "the winding road that beckons me to roam." That I share with Kevin. The other part of the goal is "a blazing campfire to welcome me when I'm returning home." In my ideal life, I'd spend roughly half the year traveling around the world. There are so many interesting places to experience. When I read my on-line friend Michael Armijo's blogs I'm almost envious of the amount of travel he has in his life and the great places he visits and writes about. But I also need a place to call home--a place that calls to me as much as the road.

I bought the house in Missoula back in 1975. That's almost 34 years ago now. I've lived over half of my life in that house. It's too small. It's too crowded. It's badly in need of some TLC. BUT IT'S MY HOME! After a childhood spent moving every three to five years on average, I have a place that I don't want to leave. Or rather, I have a place that calls me back when I've been on the road. Perhaps this is silly, or selfish, or even delusional. But it's the way I feel. I can sit out on the deck, look around the yard, or gaze at the house and know that I'm home. That's a good feeling to me.

Gratuitous shot of dogs at truck stop
Note the hitchin' post
(These are not our dogs)

I've shared that house with six other men, one of whom died there, two cats and ten dogs including seven Miniature Pinschers. The man who currently shares my life feels to me like he's the one I've been waiting for. And now he wants to leave. Oh he doesn't want to leave me, just Missoula. But I'm not ready to pull up stakes and follow. And the thought of only seeing him two or three times a month is more than I can bear right now.

I tell myself that this is exactly what wives have faced throughout history as their men have gone off to war, gone off to the sea, or gone off on the road as OTR drivers. I know I'm not alone--it's just a new experience for me and I'm having trouble accepting it. I know, I know, "Get over it, Blanche!"

WHAT? I'm supposed to be able to read all those gauges?

And I will. I'm using the time I would spend with Kevin to really work on my photography. As I get the house uncluttered, I'll get back to my weaving and my music. These are good things. In the next post, I'll be sharing with you a new (to me) photo processing technique that has led me to some of the most dramatic pictures I've yet created. And I learned all about it after Kevin drove off Saturday (and after I picked myself off the floor and stopped crying).

I also plan on riding with him on one of his circuits. It looks as if he will be driving a route that takes him from Chicago to California. He will be hauling lunch meat from Chicago west, and produce from California east. The circle takes 8-10 days, as I figure it, so expect to see me in the cab of the truck sometime in late July.

No, No, No. I'll be over in the passenger's seat
But if you go to the full screen view,
You'll see me and the Saab in the round mirror

Gee, I'm already feeling better. Thanks for the help.

The other song that is going through my mind right now, is Jane Olivor's My First Night Without You. Unfortunately, the only version of that song on YouTube is by David Cassidy. The words are right, but David doesn't have Jane's sensitivity. Her version always has me in tears. If you don't know Jane Olivor, here's a link to another of her performances on YouTube.


redwinecarl said...

Well, Blanche, I hope you're over it by now. When Steve was gone 5 and a half days a week, it was rough at first, then we got him on 4 10-hour shifts and I had him home from Fri night to Monday afternoon, when we'd meet for lunch before he flew out to DFW. It was perfect for us, as we needed some space, and it actually helped our relationship smooth out some very serious bumps. I would be very excited to travel like that with Kevin, and, like you, have a place to come home to periodically. I think it would be worth the other adjustments you'll have to make, but that's only my opinion. Hopefully it will help get your finances in order so you can repay Bear and all those other items you've mentioned cleaning up.
Are you off for the summer so you can do this? Sure hope so. My very best to you both, Carl.

kevin said...

I hope bryan knows...that i don't think we have to buy our own many payments.(hehe)
We can drive for someone else with a big Sleeper for me and bryan and the 4 dogs (thank god they are all little)..We could see a lot of this great country we live in...but bryan's not retiring until will just have to go with me a couple of times before then to use up his vacation time...

and mybe we can see some of bryan's relatives all over the country and some good old friends that we miss dearly..

Enough for now...sitting in Santa Nella Ca at the truck stop getting ready for loading sometime soon i hope.