The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Mike Sunderland
Thoughts from a Grey-Haired Point of View 

Who Is Your Friend?


The other day I sat down to write another article and my mind went blank! Go figure. So I loaded up the CD player with music by an old favorite of mine… C.W. McCall.

I doubt many youngsters (anyone under 40) will recognize the name. He produced and sang Long Lonesome Road, Night Rider, Ratchet Jaw, Rubber Duck, among many more trucking tunes. Dorothy and I lived in Winnemucca, NV when he hit the top of the charts hit after hit, during the early 1970s.

We installed a mobile CB in our car and at home we had a 50-ft. tower connected to a tabletop unit with an amp. When the skip was running we could talk with other CBers and truckers from coast to coast. It didn’t take very long before we were making friends with dozens of 18-wheel truckers. Whenever they had time to stop (and sometime when they didn’t) they would invite us to have a meal with them at Keith’s Model T Truck Stop. No matter how hard we tried to pay, the truckers always won the argument and they paid.

Another time, we took our new 1974 Chevy Impala on a short trip from Winnemucca to Battle Mountain for dinner. We didn’t make it. About halfway there the engine overheated and we had to pull off the road into a rest area. We’d been ratchet jawing with the truckers and one of them pulled in along side us. To make a long story short, they loaded our Chevy onto the bottom rack of car hauler where we rode back into Winnemucca, right into the parking lot of the Model T.

Dorothy and I were among the founding members of the Humboldt County Search & Rescue organization. Among other things, besides looking for lost people, we had a division that specialized in fighting range fires. It seemed like every time we went out on a search or a fire fighting mission, one or more of our trucker friends would be in the area and they would want to volunteer assistance.

A few years later, we moved our small family from Winnemucca to Albion, NE. As we were coming through the mountains and hills West of Cheyenne it started to hail. If that was not bad enough, the wind came up and we were having trouble staying on the road.

There were five of us in the car, Dorothy and I and three youngsters. Dorothy was on the CB with a trio of truckers. There was no place to pull over and get out of traffic. The three truckers formed a wind screen for us – one pulled in front, one positioned on our left side, and the third was rear guard.

They shepherded us safely into the Little America truck stop at Cheyenne. We tried to buy them dinner but they refused to take any recompense for their timely assistance.

These and other interactions we’ve had with truckers from coast to coast over the years have instilled a great deal of respect in us for them. They work hard and long. They get little in the way of recognition for the job they do as they move life’s necessities from supplier/manufacturer to customer. Think about them the next time you buy groceries, clothes, medicines, parts to fix your car, remodel your home, etc. Chances are 100 perecent that one or more truckers was involved somewhere in the chain.

I totally support them as they motor their way to Washington D.C. They are able to represent you and I in a way that we cannot. I’d love to drive to D.C. and take part in the protest. As I finish writing this article the truckers are, at this moment, driving by Sidney. Next time you have the opportunity, thank a truck driver for the work they do. Without them life would not be very good.


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