The Call of the Road

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8

In 2009 I went from being a grocery manager / customer service representative to being a long-haul truck driver. When I tell people that, many of them get a strange look on their faces and remark that it’s a big change, and I have to agree, but it all made sense to me. Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s set me up for what I was to become. During that time the citizens band radio (CB) became really popular and everyone had one at home and in their cars. Trucking movies were on TV and at the theatres, and this was a strong influence for me. Driving a semi truck became a passion and a dream for me. So why didn’t I take it up when I left school? I wonder that myself many times.

In 1980 I got my regular drivers license just 20 days after my 16th birthday and I was immediately hooked to all things driving. I loved the freedom and power that holding a licence allowed. The open road belonged to me and I rolled with it. But having this freedom also gave me freedom to access other things like drugs (mainly marijuana) and alcohol, and this caused me to have issues at school. Eventually I quit school at the beginning of Grade 11 because I thought I was above school. I then went through a number of menial jobs that I didn’t like and they didn’t like me.

My parents, especially my mom, had been in the grocery industry for many years. At this time in my life my parents had purchased a general store just south of Winnipeg, Manitoba where I had grown up. This moved me into a new school division where I knew nobody, and nobody knew me. In January, just 4 months after I’d left school, I returned to a new school. Through some hard work and a lucky break I graduated from grade 12 right on time as if I’d never taken a four month break.

Eventually with the help of my parents, I purchased a convenience store in Winnipeg, and the stage was set for the next 25 years of my life. After the convenience store in Winnipeg I went off to manage two stores in rural Manitoba, before my wife and I purchased a store in a rural community where we continue to live today. I considered myself a pretty good manager, but always in the back of my mind I could feel the call of the open road, but didn’t see how I could make it happen.

In 2009 things began to change, our three boys had grown and after graduation they moved away from our small town to seek their fortune. And business was slowing down so we made the decision to sell our store and for me to get out of the business. I took a couple of jobs as a telephone customer service representative, but my dream was calling to me really loudly and I was at a place where I felt it could become a reality.

I applied for a training grant and was accepted and in September 2009 I began my training to be a truck driver. In December 2009 I passed my driving test and I was a truck driver, at least on paper. I got a job really quickly and was soon off on the open road with a company trainer. We headed south into the US and then east to Baltimore and I was living the dream. That job lasted for about 2 years and then my troubles with the law began and I lost my clearance to cross into the US. I thought my dream was dead, but I was quickly hired by a commodity hauler than ran mainly western Canada and once again I was out on the open road.

In April 2014 my life took the worst turn yet as I ended up in jail for my 2011 crime. And now I really wondered if my dream was dead. I was released in November 2014 and amazingly found a job driving truck in February 2015 and I was off again and this time I was totally in love with what I was doing. I was on the road from Monday to Friday and home every weekend. This was a truckers dream job. And something else happened, for the first time in my life I felt like a real truck driver. I’d acquired skills that I didn’t previously possess and I was respected by my fellow drivers and by the staff in the office, mainly due to my complete attitude adjustment that had occurred while I was in jail.

The road was my life, and I told anyone that asked how much I loved my job. I woke up with a smile on my face every day, and aside from a few times, that smile remained on my face most of the day. When others would complain about their job I couldn’t understand the problem because I was so happy.

But in August 2019, my life took another drastic turn and I ended up here, in hospital, feeling my body dying all around me. I suffered from Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS) and it was killing the nerves in my body. When I was paralyzed and in a ventilator, I was at the lowest point of my life and I saw no future other than what was happening all around me. But now, six months into this illness, I see that anything is possible.

The paralysis has left my body and I can do most things on my own. But the one thing that is slow to recover is my legs. I feel them and can stand and walk with them as long as I have someone with me to catch me if I fall. I roll around the hospital in a wheelchair and that’s the only wheels I get for now. The open road still calls me and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to answer that call, but for now that’s as distant a plan as it was when I graduated from school in 1982.

But this time I have a different attitude. I leave it all in God’s hand and let Him lead me in the right direction. If it is His will I’ll get behind the wheel of a truck again. But if not, I’m sure He’ll guide me along the correct path.

God bless