WELL! FINALLY ! ABOUT TIME! WHAT TOOK SO LONG?
THOUGHT THEY WOULD NEVER CALL!
These were the thought that went through our heads when Mushroom got a call from the Placement Advisor - that he had set up an interview for a truck driving job for her. Hey, Mr. Life Time Placement man - a person could starve to death waiting for you to call. And truth be known - we should have been in interviews with companies through out the school - another hint that our school might not have been held in high degree by the trucking industry. OK, here is the poop - long after we graduated - 30 Minutes did a special on schools who were part of a group of schools who got fraudulent student loans and Pell Grants. Yep, you guessed it, our alma mater was a featured school. But that was in the future - back when she got the call all we knew was that she finally had an interview for a driving job.
We drove to the interview - it was a trucker looking for a trainee to be his co-driver. I guess she aced the interview - because the next day she went to the company's office and filled out paperwork. I don't remember her telling me that she had to take a driving test or drug screen - all standard in the industry - but it has been a long time ago and maybe she did.
About a week later she gets a call from the driver telling her she has been hired. He gives her instructions on where and when to meet him to get on the truck. So, Mushroom makes arrangements at work to take some time off - just in case - packs her bags and at the arranged time I drive her, her suitcase, and her favorite pillow to meet up with her new trainer.
This one fact I am certain of. She did not attend an orientation class. Something every trucking company does - well all the good ones. I don't remember how long she drove with this guy but I do know it was long enough for me to get a letter. Yeah a letter. Before the Internet - people use to actually write letters. Back then you had something in your mail box other than bills and advertisement. Boy do I miss those days.
I still have the letter - but I don't need to have it in front of me to remember what she wrote.
"This guy is crazy. I woke up today hearing a tap - tap tap - tap tap tap. I opened the curtain and here this dope is dry shaving while he sits at the steering wheel and tapping the razor on the steering wheel. He will almost never stop at a truck stop. We deliver today - and then will not have a load until Monday. So I will be spending it at a truck stop - whether he knows it or not. Besides it is a major football weekend."
I don't know what she did but true to her word they spent the weekend at a truck stop. You just can't keep a football fan away from their games. I am not privy to all that happen that weekend. But I do know that come Monday all shit hit the old fan. That is when Mushroom called the company. "What are you doing on the truck?", they asked, "You have not been hired yet!" I am willing to bet you could have heard Mushroom in the next county. I know her and that would have been a ballistic moment. After some threats on her part the company agreed they owed her some money - and sent some to the truck stop via EFS check. EFS is a system that trucking companies use to get money to their drivers. Don't ask me how it works - maybe an early version of Pay Pal - I don't know. I also know this. Mushroom got her stuff off the truck and gave that driver what for. I am not sure what the company did - I know our company would have fired him on the spot - but who knows what happen. So there she is on the East Coast with some money in her pocket. A sensible person would have hopped that plane, or train, or even the bus with Gus and headed back to Dallas. And Mushroom is for the most part a sensible person. But, and this is what you have to love about her, there are times when she gets an idea in her head and she is going to stick with that idea, even if it means cutting off her nose to spite her face. You guessed it, she decided to cut off her nose. OH MY GOD you say what did she do. Well she decided that she got to the East Coast by truck - she was damn well going to return to Dallas on a truck. SOOOO, she started to catch rides from truckers. All was going real well, she would call me with updates, I mean it was going real well until she caught that ride with the trucker headed for Dallas. It should have been the last leg in her journey. But as the story goes - the best laid plans of mice and men. About Memphis this trucker decides he has not seen his girl friend for awhile so he veers south. Now Mushroom finds her self in a dumpy truck stop in Mississippi. Well - the guy couldn't actually visit the girl friend with a female tag-a-long - now could he. So there she is in Mississippi somewhere off the beaten track and try as she might she can't hitch a ride to save her sole. After two days - she gave me a call at work. You can hear it in her voice. She is give out plain and simple. "Do you want me to come get you?", I said, because after all what are friends for and this really is a joint venture. "Please", she replies. "Well, after work I will go home and get my dogs and we will head that way.", I tell her. Well after all it is Friday - what else did I have planned for the week end? I drove all night and arrived in the wee hours of the morning. I don't remember seeing a more pathetic sight. I have seen a wet cat that looked better. She was one bedraggled mess. "Let's get a room", I suggested, "my treat." Okay, I will be honest, I was not only thinking of Mushroom. I mean after all you could tell she was not up to driving to Dallas - and I had been up for 24 hours. So to a motel we went. I immediately fell asleep. Mushroom took a shower and then hit the sack. We slept like dead men. Sunday, we get up bright eyed and bushy tail. You can't keep a good woman down for long, and we hit the trail bound for Dallas. You would think that maybe her little adventure would have dampened her spirit for trucking - but Mushroom was and is a game ol' gal. So on the way back she starts talking to drivers on the CB. She asks them about their companies, the benefits, where they run, their training programs - see even from your mistakes you learn something. In this case she learned the questions to ask. We stop in North Little Rock to check out a trucking company. As we leave there we start talking to a driver who drove for US Express. A big trucking company in OKC. By the time we reach the west side of Little Rock, Mushroom decides she likes what she is hearing.
"I'll tell you gals what", he says. "Let's stop at the 106 JJ's Truck Stop - they have real mash potatoes - and talk". So we stop at JJ's. Back then the hot roast beef sandwich was really good, the potatoes were as promised real. JJ's is still there - but I have not eaten there in a long time - so if you are in the area you will just have to check it out yourself. By the end of the meal, it is decided Mushroom will apply for a job at US Express. We run with our new friend the rest of the way to Dallas. Hey, my load is ready, so I have to hit the road - you will have to wait for the next Post to learn of Mushroom's 2nd Trucking Adventure.