Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just A Ramblin’ On…
I received an email last week from Kevin. He wrote, “What does Pam Pollock's ramblings have to do with trucking? The rest of the print is great.”
Ouch. No, I really mean OUCH! Kevin’s words stung. Seven days later and they are still stinging me. My knee jerk reaction was to type up a very lengthy and wordy response that said, in a nutshell, that my column, Off The Beaten Path, that I have been writing for the past 32 years really doesn’t have anything to do with trucking – hence the name of the column…. My boss/husband suggested that I just cool down and not send the email. So – I didn’t, and I decided to write about it this month. Kevin – this column is kinda, sorta about trucking this month…
I’d like to address the latter part of Kevin’s email first. He stated that he thought the rest of the print [Movin’ Out] was great. Well, Kevin, thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate it and I have to give myself a little pat on the back because I do have a hand in putting together every issue of Movin’ Out – been doing so for the past 38.5 years. Movin’ Out is a small family business and we’ve worked hard to grow the publication that began 46 years ago and was, at that time, circulated in about 4 states. Today, we are distributed in over 1,200 locations in ALL 50 states. Over the years we would stop at truckstops whilst traveling and get permission to distribute the newspaper. Not only do I write my rambling column every month, but I typeset Steve’s feature stories, edit every piece of copy and build the newspaper by placing the stories and photos around the ads. I occasionally go to truck shows and photograph the big rigs. I handle the shipping manifest and perform a lot of the office work. I take great pride in my work and in Movin’ Out, it’s our 3rd child and Steve and I have nurtured it with much love and care all of these years.
Back to my ramblings – I started to work at a local truckstop when I was seventeen years old and fresh out of high school – that was 42 years ago, in case you are wondering how old I am. I worked at the truckstop for almost 3.5 years. A cute, slightly hippish looking young man would bring in bundles of Movin’ Out every month while he was doing his sales calls – spoiler alert – after 3 years of casual flirting, he finally asked me out on May 18, 1982 and we got married that same year on December 10th. The newspapers would literally be scooped up by the drivers as soon as they were delivered. I became good friends with many of the drivers and I would stick some copies of Movin’ Out behind the counter for them. We would spread the newspaper out and read it together. We would discuss the trucking news and then we would talk about our personal lives. One night, one of the regular drivers came through the fuel desk (I was working midnight shift at the time), he started talking about his little girl and Tom, one of the fuel jocks, pulled out photos of his newborn daughter and I proudly displayed photos of my new nephew. We laughed and compared baby notes. And that was the last time we ever saw that driver – months later his Dad, who was also a trucker, stopped in to say that his son had an accident that same night and died. My good friend Tom, the fuel jock, started a family trucking company many years later and sadly died of a heart attack this past February.
I started writing my ramblings 32 years go because I wanted Movin’ Out to not only be informative but entertaining as well. I wanted to recreate those 3.5 years that I shared with so many Professional Truck Drivers, talking about our families, our hobbies, our hopes, our dreams, our fears. I have received so many compliments about Off The Beaten Path via letters, phone calls, emails and in person at truck shows and events. To be honest, Kevin’s email was really the first negative feedback that I have received in 32 years. It’s made me question if what I am doing is just rambling? Are people hating on me behind my back? Should I just hang up my column? I have so many self-doubts running through my head right now. My self-esteem and pride have taken a hit.
But what I will never doubt is that I love what I do – whether it is working on Movin’ Out, chasing birds in the early morning or spending time with my family. And with just a little over 2 months to go until I turn 60 years old, I think I’ve earned the right to ramble on.