Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting a better view

Recently I went on an adventure with my husband. He is an over the road driver who carries US Military mail. His job is quite interesting. He has driven for over twenty-five years now and I have always wanted to ride along with him. Sure, he tells me of his sights and all that he is hammered with. I hear him, but as a wife, I have always wanted a better understanding of what he faces daily.

Did you know that over the road driving is one of the most dangerous jobs? As my husband walks out the door, I stand and wave as I pray for his protection. One of the main difficulties is lack of sleep. My husband has won award after award for his safe driving among other things. He has been offered many driving jobs, but always turns them down if they do not want to follow the strict guidelines. He is safety conscious. He has seen terribly graphic accidents. He knows the dangers of the road. There isn't one day he takes for granted. He knows there are good drivers out there and there are those drivers that shouldn't be behind the wheel.

This past week I was able to journey with him to Chicago. I did not do a long haul run, so I didn't experience sleeping in the truck, but I did experience a great deal. In fact, I was kind of proud sitting in the seat next to my husband. I must tell you he made it look so very easy. When hauling US mail you are on a time line. So, our stops were short. The most interesting thing for me? The view from way up there in that seat. Okay, now every car should come with air ride seats. lol My husband treated me to many special things over these few days. I think he too was excited to have me along.

My husband must be very attentive. He is on guard from every angle. All those mirrors. I find it hard just to keep up with the few in my car. He turns on the satellite radio and finds the greatest stations for us to listen to. He is constantly making sure I am comfortable and have my seat belt on. My mind is going in so many directions as we are driving down the road. If you have traveled through Illinois you will know that it is as flat as a pancake. I love the rolling hills of the Ozarks, but there is something special about all this farm land. I just kept thinking of the stories each of these people have to tell. These farms go back years and years. From where I sat you could see much higher. Things you could never see in a car. In fact, you pretty well know everything those passing you in cars are doing. You might want to file that tid bit of info for safe keeping:)

We stayed in a very nice hotel. I can tell you that your body does take a beating. When you are able to close your eyes you are grateful for every minute and you make every minute count. Thinking we would be able to rest I begin hearing the wind blow, thunder clap and lightening snap. Yes, Chicago just happens to have a storm like they haven't seen in years. Seventy-five mph winds attacked this city, knocking out 1/2 million people without electric. This puts a damper on your plans when you would like to get out and see a few things, but the most interesting thing is, we slept right through that storm! The hotel was being run on generators if you can imagine that. Mighty big ones in fact! The street lights were all out. Traffic was at a stand still. Kudos to you all who live in this gigantic city. We think traffic is bad here in St. Louis. To that I must laugh.

I too was in my first truck stop. I should say, real truck stop. This place was huge. It was filled with everything you could imagine. My husband laughed at me as I was shopping at 3:00AM. He asked if I wanted to come back for Christmas shopping. lol It might not be a bad idea!

The first thing I learned? Do not get a large cup of coffee when your husband suggests a small. Oh my gosh! You can't just pull that big truck over any place and hop out for a bathroom break. The rest of that interesting story is for me to know and only you to guess:)

The second thing I learned? While exiting the truck, you might want to turn around and back out as your husband suggests. Yeah, don't go out foreword. You might just land on your rump. Well, in fact you will.

The third? Don't pack a big bag. Okay, this was just a few days and I packed for like a week. Hey, you never know what could happen. But men do not think like women. I didn't use 3/4ths of the things I packed. You too cannot wear P.J's even though it's night. You just might have to stop and well, a truck stop isn't ready for a girl in jammies.

I had a blast with my husband. It only made me respect and love him more. A life of an over the road driver is not an easy one. There are many dangers that come with that territory. I can now relate to his stories a bit better. I think it is an awesome idea to take an interest in the job of your spouse. Not just ask, "How was your day?" But dive in and share the experience. Stepping in another's shoes gives us a greater understanding of who they are inside and out. In doing so we take our eyes off of our self.

Traveling in the night you see beautiful sights as refineries are lit up magnificently. In the day you see a crop duster that gives you the thrill of your life as he crosses over the highway and is coming straight for you. You think you are going to collide, but he pulls up just in time. This was simply fascinating to me. I learned just how sheltered from the world I really am. Now, that isn't a bad thing, but we too need to broaden that box we live in. We need to experience life through other people's eyes.

After getting out of that truck and into my car to drive home I realized just how different it is. I felt as though I was now sitting on the ground driving, but as a driver, I found myself being more aware of all that is around me. Many times there are fatal accidents and the truck driver is thought to be at blame. I must tell you after riding with my husband, I see how other drivers have no respect those big trucks on the road. People assume that they can just stop at the drop of a hat. People weave in and out and drive as close as they can to the end of that big truck.

For every driver out there, a man is away from his family. Now, you might say, well that's his or her choice. My husband has never taken a job where he is away for more than three days at a time. He simply would not be away for a month at a time like some. But what I would like for you to remember is, every shelf in the stores you shop in and every clothes rack you glance over is because of a driver who delivered those things to provide for you. The next time you see a truck pulled over at a truck stop or along side a ramp trying to catch some zzzz's, say a prayer for him or her. It just might be what they are needing to make it through the day until they reach home once more.

If anything, through this open window, I have learned to appreciate my husband even more. I want to make his time at home more special and be more attentive to him. I will now strive even harder to meet him at the door when he comes home. I want to work harder at home. As I am sitting down resting, having myself a cup of coffee, I can now envision what he might be doing. I just loved sharing this time with him. I will be blessed to go on more trips with him and cannot wait to learn even more. I know this has brought us closer together.

Ladies, lets be real. If we are honest, we can say that sometimes we are happy when that alarm goes off and our husbands are out the door. I am just saying, lets take more interest. Sure, we all like that time we have alone and quiet, but lets embrace that time we have together. Lets make every moment count and try to see things from a different view.


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