Ode to Kojak in Overalls
The holidays are past us and now it’s back to the grind. I took some time over the holidays reflecting on defining moments and people in the past that have made an impact on my life….
The one that kept jumping into my reflections was Kojak in Overalls (with a blue tooth) This man was my trainer for the my first trucking job.
Sitting in the terminal, all the hustle and bustle, waiting to meet my trainer. The one I would be trusting my life with, to spend six short weeks to teach me everything he knew (course that didn’t happen, six weeks is too short!). I was told his truck number and to go look for that Freightliner in the yard, which I obediently did, finding it, I climbed up on the side and banged on the door. Waited a minute, and banged again. Climbed back down, and waited. A few minutes later out climbed Kojak in overalls sporting a blue tooth, obviously just waking, I introduced myself as his new trainee. This was our beginning.
I followed him through the terminal to the dispatch office to get our paperwork, not talking much as I was nervous as all get out. But he just kept talking with that Texas Southern Drawl, which helped calm me. Soon I began talking and we headed out with the load. He drove through Dallas, stopped on the outskirts to give me the truck, wrote with a grease pen on the windshield the route we would be taking, climbed into the back, drew the curtains, and there I was! Sitting alone in the front of the cab! Alone! I couldn’t believe it! Alone! Thinking to myself this guy is whacked! So I pulled out, got on the highway and headed down the road. A few miles ahead, my trailer crossed the fog line and hit the bumps and I heard him holler, you just ran over a family broke down on the side of the road! Keep it between the lines! Ok….I wasn’t alone.
When the six weeks were over I got my own truck. On my first load out, realized after going 100 miles, I really was alone. I got on the cell and called him! And, for those first several weeks alone, I could call and count on him to talk me through whatever situation I had gotten myself into…
Although the six weeks, at times seemed to drag on, there was not a moment that my trainer wasn’t teaching me. In this blog I can’t begin to convey all the things he taught me, but each and every lesson was well taken. I understood that this trucker knew what he was doing and took great pride in helping every trainee that climbed on his truck. He was a good man with a heart of gold. He loved his wife and children with such passion. You couldn’t help but adore him. The laughter and the lessons shared, I just want to take one small moment in time to say….Thank you Larry !
…and thank you to all of you that take the time to train, you are worth your weight in gold! To all those who are currently in the Bakken learning a new skill, driving a rig “off road” for the first time, learning how to frac, coil, cement, and not blow yourselves up on the wire line; pause for a moment as you begin the new year and thank the person coaching and mentoring you – your very own Kojak in overalls. It is these dedicated, career oil patch veterans that are gifting you of their time and effort as we all bring Bakken to market.
Happy New Year !
© JJ Arnet