January 11, 2013
Haiku My Heart is a weekly meeting of friends, both old and new, that share their haiku along with their thoughts. You can read more and find out how to participate at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon
Yes, that describes it
I served in the US Army in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969. That was a long time ago, 44 years, and since then, many people occasionally ask me about having been to war. I remember when I first returned home, someone asked me if I killed anyone. I don’t remember what I answered, but I remember being asked that question and who asked it. I remember being asked that question over and over during the past 44 years. It surfaces once in a while.
Just a few weeks ago, my Brother-In-Law asked me a general question about the war. I skirted a direct answer to his question, but did tell him that I have written about the experience and that those writings are there for my Grandchildren and their children to have long after I’m gone from putting down footsteps on this earth.
It’s funny, in a way, because I don’t ever remember being asked about being a Dad, watching my children being born or living through the hell of having one of them die. No one has asked me what it felt like to have a heart attack. Nobody crosses the line and asks me how it feels to be a compulsive gambler.
Maybe these subjects are considered personal and people won’t intrude on my space. I guess I see that as a sign of respect and I appreciate that. But I was also a truck driver. I drove all kinds of trucks and drove short and long distances and hauled many different things inside those trucks. I love the line in the song sung by Lowell George of the band Little Feat. The name of that song is “Willin” and the line reads:
“I’ve driven’ ever kinda rig that’s ever been made, Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed”
No one has ever asked me about being a truck driver. Maybe in general terms, but I’ve never heard someone ask, “Hey Spado, did you ever jack knife a big rig?” or “Hey man, you ever see one of those lot lizards?”
How about the CB radio? Late night gotta-make-the-delivery-by-eight-AM marathon drives, truck stop food, sleeping in a truck, cold weather, snowy weather, windy weather, hot weather with air conditioning or with no air conditioning? Being alone, being away from home, what’s the farthest, the shortest, the heaviest, the lightest. Ever pick up a hitch hiker? What did you do before cell phones and the GPS?
I certainly have met my share of unusual, and some very usual, people during the million plus miles I have logged as a truck driver since I worked my first job on a truck at 18 years old moving furniture in the wooden mountains, (4th floor walk-up stairways), of Chicago.
Then again, if you reference This Post I did in September of 2009 about how many jobs I have held over the years, I guess I’ve never been asked about any of these jobs and what it entailed to be a teacher, a cook, a chef, a counselor, a manager, tomato sorter or paper-boy.
I’ve not been asked to describe the joy of hitting a game winning home run at the softball tournament or the thrill of riding my motorcycle at 137 miles per hour. Seems that folks don’t want to learn about something someone else has done or listen to how it feels, like a news reporter would ask after the final seconds of the championship game have ticked off the clock and the star of the team narrates his game winning comeback drive for a touchdown.
I dug out the writing I did about the war and I’m going to put it on a flash drive and bring it down to the print shop. I’m going to make hard copies of the 29 page manuscript and send it to my Brother-In-law and answer his question about the war. He seems to genuinely want to know something about what I’ve been through as a nineteen year old being drafted and called to war. Maybe by reading it he’ll understand a bit more about my quirkiness. He’ll for sure get a better sense than he would if he just read today’s Haiku