She Stands In The Snow And Waits

March 2, 2011

Last Friday I had occasion to drive to Olympia (Washington) to help out a friend. That is to say, I drove to Springfield (Eugene, Oregon area) and met up with her at her daughter's home, then rode with her up to Olympia, where we rented a car trailer and I drove back to Springfield, hauling her daughter's broken down Mustang on the trailer. Then, after unloading the car and turning the trailer in at the local U-Haul dealer, I got back in my Cherokee and drove home.

I had left my house that morning at 5:00 a.m. while it was still quite dark out. The sun rose just about the time I hit Highway 58. It was cold, snowy, blowing snow, kind of icy, and there was at least three feet of snow on each side of the road.

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I Thought I Was Making Good Time Coming Home, But Then It Became A "9 1 1" Situation.

As I was leaving Eugene one night on my way home from Olympia, I called my wife to tell her I should be home around midnight or so. The time was 9:11 and it takes about 3 hours if the roads are good. She said it would be more like 1 or 2 before I got there.

About half an hour later I stopped at the Chevron mini-mart on Hwy 58 in Dexter to get a bottle of water and some gum. When I left the store, they locked the door behind me and shut off all the lights. I thought they must really close early, because it was only 9:11.

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Trucking Ruminations

I spent 14 years as a truck driver, driving for various companies in California. Here is a rumination of some of the many trips I made with a 1974 Kenworth transfer dump while working for a small outfit out of Escondido, CA and leased to an Indiana bulk commodities hauler with hazardous waste contracts:

There were a few trips from Santa Fe Springs to Hayden with coke (the fuel kind, not the beverage or the powder), then running empty from Hayden to a boomer mine somewhere in the desert west of Oracle Junction to load up with copper ore to haul to Ajo, Arizona, then from Ajo to either Long Beach Naval Shipyard or San Diego Naval Shipyard with copper slag.

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A Little Bit Of Traveling

September 10, 2021

Last July, my wife and I were able to take some time and just spend a week visiting relatives in the state of Oregon.  It was a great journey, and took us through parts of the state which I've never seen in person before.  Believe you me, there is a lot more to Oregon than the beautiful coast and idyllic forested mountain ranges.

When you think of Oregon, you probably don't think of desert.  Well, maybe you do, especially if you live there.  But the entire eastern half of the state is indeed desert - high desert.  Beautiful in its sparseness, lonely in its remoteness, hot in its hotness.  Miles and miles of sagebrush alongside two lane highways linking small cities and smaller towns.  History abounds with places I didn't know existed.

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Memories Of Bus 32, Sunkist On The Tree, And Living On Barhaven Lane

My dad bought a house on Barhaven Lane just before leaving on his second tour of Viet Nam. We had our own backyard with a basketball hoop, a pepper tree and a row of tangerine and orange trees in the tiered front yard, a grapefruit and a lemon tree in the side yard, a bank covered with iceplant and planters filled with bougainvilleas and geraniums, and lots of room to play, indoors and out. (Funny thing about those citrus trees . . . when I was in high school two of my female friends, Julie and Pat, had come by to visit and apparently I was not home or something, because they took the time to write "Sunkist" on a whole bunch of fruit in our front yard!)

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On Dreaming While Taking Prednisone

“There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.”
- Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, 1956

"Justice is blind, but she can smell money."
- from the dream that I was just now awakened from.

To wit: I dreamt I was back at my old job as a commercial vehicle inspector with a certain law enforcement agency. The dream is a quite real scenario...

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Of My Dad, Greyhounds and Diesel Exhaust

My Dad

My father was a United States Marine.  But providing for a family of five required more money than he was making, so he took a part time job as a transit bus driver with what was then Oceanside Transit (which later became North County Transit District) in Oceanside, California.  He also took a temporary part time job as a night custodian at an elementary school.  No one could ever accuse my father of not having a good work ethic.

His choice to become a part-time bus driver established a career that bloomed when he retired from the USMC after 20 years of service.  He moved his way up the ranks from part time to full time driver, then dispatcher, then supervisor, retiring from that career in the mid 1990's.

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Who Am I?

Who I am no longer matters.  At least not as much as it used to.  At the time of this writing, I'm just some random mid-60-year-old American guy with life memories both good and bad.

The short version, saving you from a long boring read:  During my life I've been a baby, son of a U.S. Marine and an elementary school teacher, kid, Oregonian, Californian, primary school student, school-skipper, sexually abused, an elementary school student, Cub Scout, Floridian, railfan, preteen, Webelos, youngest bugler in the history of The Emerald Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps, trumpet player in school bands, junior high school student, Boy Scout, porn addict, teenager, high school student, artist, photographer, writer, weekend greasemonkey for a readymix company, drugstore stockboy, stockboy at a Sprouse-Reitz store, certified SCUBA diver, fire extinguisher technician, Christian, boyfriend, high-school graduate, Arizonian, UTI student/graduate, jilted ex-boyfriend, night watchman, lunch delivery person (in the days before DoorDash, engaged, tool room supervisor/truck deliverer for a Peterbilt/GMC truck dealership, husband, mechanic, school bus driver trainee, concrete mixer driver, auto parts store assistant manager, dump truck driver, father, truck driver for a wholesale plant nursery, driver/dockhand for a regional trucking company, owner of a parking lot striping company, hazardous waste hauler, commercial vehicle inspector, divorced, website designer, remarried husband, grandfather, retired, not quite dead yet.

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On Becoming A Christian - My Testimony

Feb. 3, 2011

I grew up in a pretty “non-religious” home.  My parents took my brothers and me to a Methodist church for Sunday School and church on Easter Sundays.  When I was about 8 through 12 they would take us each Sunday, but when I was about 12 they stopped taking us since (as they told me later) we were obviously not interested in going.  I should point out that they did not attend church either, but would drop us off when they did take us and pick us up after church.

I never gave God much thought throughout my childhood.  That said, I was a very moral guy growing up – rarely told lies, never cussed, didn’t smoke or drink, didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd, that sort of thing.  It wasn’t until I was in high school that I started thinking about “religion” in that I wondered what would happen if I died; where would I end up?  Was there really a heaven and a hell?  If so, I figured I was a really good person, so I was probably going to heaven.

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Warm Oil and Creosote on a Hot Summer Day

Those are smells I like.  They take me back to my youth when I would ride my bike around by the Rocket gas station downtown.  The service station had an outside rack for doing oil changes on cars, and back then they didn't have the environmental restrictions about disposing of used motor oil properly so they would let it sit in buckets outdoors and then every so often would pour the oil on the dirt that surrounded the sides and back of the station to keep dust down. 

My dad used to do all the oil changes on our cars at home, and would always pour the old oil out along the fence to keep down weeds.

The smell was a good one to me.  Like creosote in railroad ties on a hot day.  Even better was the mixed smells of oil and lube grease and creosote...  even in the early 1980's environmental handling of oil was not mainstream yet - here's a photo of the locomotive fueling area in east Portland at the Portland Traction Company's yard.

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