Amarillo By The Afternoon

by Rick Beck


The sausage and gravy over biscuits was piled high in front of me. Cass had ordered the same thing, and he sat staring at a mountain of food.

"I don't think I can eat all of this?" he said.

"Dive in. You might surprise yourself. As meals go, this is the meal I'll start my day with, if I have time to stop for it. I can go until dinner time, without eating again, but I won't. You can get that alarmed look off your face."

Cass laughed, digging into the steaming hot feast.

Cass settled into his life as a big time trucker's helper. He was a big help to me, and he furnished intelligent conversation. I loved every mile he spent with me, and on that spring day, we made it to El Cajon Pass, a couple of hours west of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

We slept on top of the mountain, until I slipped into my seat at nearly three. I started the engine, heading for Long Beach. I delivered safely and on-time.

I always had a couple of days to spend in California, before I could expect a load going east. Many many truckers deliver their freight into California each day. Not so many get a load out in less than two or three days, but I loved being in California. I didn't mind the wait.

There were a thousand things to do there, and my company had a yard a mile from Disneyland. I parked there and we visited the Happiest Place On Earth. Cass had never been there, and he had a ball.

I loved every mile I drove with Cass. He turned out to be one of the warmest, most affection helpers I found. He seemed to enjoy being disconnected from all the difficulties that forced him onto America's highways.

I don't think he ever regretted getting on my truck, but I sure regretted seeing him go. He told me when it was time for him to go. I put him on a bus to go back home, where he needed to finish his education.

I hated to see Cass go, but he had my card if he needed me.

The End

Remember, all you four-wheelers out there, keep the shiny side up, and the rubber side down.

I'll be seeing you on the flip-flop.

Joe Buck, cross-country trucker, owner-operator

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