Here comes summer! Wouldn’t we all just love to take time off and go do fun summer things, like swimming, camping, or going to an amusement park? Even just staying home and not going anywhere has its appeal. Most people tend to want to travel somewhere when they go on vacation. That’s clearly evident by the increase in traffic during the summer months. But, alas, many of us won’t have the luxury of taking a vacation – we will keep pounding down the road in our big rigs and convincing ourselves we are on a sort of paid vacation. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get out of school and go on the road with my dad. It wasn’t exactly a vacation for him, but for me it was the best way to spend a vacation. To my dad, it must have been just more of the same old stuff he had seen for so many years, but for me, it was a whole different world out there, with mountain ranges to explore, big cities to get lost in, and wide-open ranges to gaze upon. I was perfectly content to be out in the middle of nowhere, staring down a heat mirage on an endless highway, while studying my dad’s mannerisms and listening to a crackling broadcast of Paul Harvey on some far away FM station in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe those were dreadfully boring to a man who had blazed that trail a million times, but those were the times of my life that I keep burned into my memory. The best times of my life weren’t spent playing video games or at some extravagant theme park – they were spent riding shotgun with my old man, cutting a path across the country, and waking up in a whole new place every day. Those were impressionable times, and I encourage you to bring your kids along with you this summer. Who knows, maybe their perspective will influence yours and give you fresh eyes for an otherwise routine trip. While recently attending the Wheel Jam Truck Show in South Dakota last month, our editor Dan ran across a dad (Aaron Puterbaugh) who had his 6-year-old daughter Xoey with him. It was Xoey’s first time out, and she was spending three weeks on the road with him and loving it. Aaron’s company, Long Haul Trucking, allows kids on the truck starting at age 6, and Xoey was excited to go. Thanks to Dan for providing the information and pictures of Aaron and Xoey for this month’s column – a perfect example of what this poem is about!
TAKE A KID
By Trevor Hardwick
You know those long lethargic days,
When boredom settles in?
When pavement sizzles in the heat,
And the highway never ends.
Those days when nothing’s going on,
And there isn’t much to say.
The clouds are slowly drifting by,
And you’re driving all darn day.
You’ve seen this place a million times,
And beaten down this path.
Pushed the wind across these plains,
And ridden out its’ wrath.
Maybe it ain’t nothin’ new,
The same old dance and song.
But I guarantee you’ll change a life,
If you bring your kid along.
All those routine little things,
Like truck stops late at night.
You may see as just old hat,
They’ll think it’s quite a sight.
The way you hold the steering wheel,
And shift so many gears.
These are things your kid will see,
And remember them for years.
The smell of diesel island pumps,
The dashboard lights aglow.
The way your scented little tree,
Goes swinging to and fro.
The way you speak to others,
On the CB or the dock.
If they’re anything like I was,
They’ll remember how you talk.
Those long and lonely highways,
And those crowded city streets.
The times you spend together,
Are the times that can’t be beat.
Take your kiddos with you,
Share with them your view.
Get them off their phones for once,
And show them something new.
Make their heart start pounding,
In a Texas summer storm.
Or take ‘em to Orlando,
Where the weather’s always warm.
Let them see the Gateway Arch,
Or the Chesapeake Bay bridge.
Truck ‘em through the snow,
Up on a Colorado ridge.
Let ‘em lay there in the bunk,
And try to get some sleep.
That bouncing down the road,
Will be in memories they keep.
Take your kid along with you,
And someday you might see.
They’ll commit those little things,
To their long-term memories!