Once again, Veteran's Day has rolled around and I turn my thoughts to my Papaw, Robert Eugene Bradley. He served in the Korean Conflict back in the 50s and earned the Purple Heart because he's basically the toughest old cuss I've ever known. He drove a truck until the day (not literally) he died, and despite a long history of brutal alcoholism and coarse living, he got his crap together, made up with his kids, and was there for my siblings and I for as long as I can remember. Those particular achievements outweigh anything he did in uniform.
But the Purple Heart thing is still pretty awesome too.
Earlier this year I started a new job after parting ways with my brother and sister-in-law's company. Doing so was not my choice, but I'm glad they made their case in the way that they did. I think in the long run, me getting out and doing something other than sitting in an office all day was better for all involved.
At first I didn't want to blab here about what I do, mostly because it involves me being gone all the time. In the digital age of jack squat for privacy, you can't be too careful. But since I just found out I got hired for a daily job in Vegas, I'll be leaving this job right away.
Anyhow, as you can see from the above, I became a Class A trucker, driving for Knight Transportation. I've been more than a little proud to follow in Papaw's footsteps (tread marks?) and keep a Bradley behind the wheel of a big rig.
As a trucker, I get to go just about everywhere. My training run took me all the way to the east coast, through D.C., the Carolinas, and out into Delaware. I got to drive through Broken Arrow, OK, the site of my novel RESOLUTE. I got to see other things that will (or already have) ended up in books I'm writing. Since then I have mostly stayed in the West, not going any farther than Denver. But I am one of the few drivers who gets to go into Canada, which has been a good experience overall.
This weekend I crossed the border a few times, and I noticed the CBP agents wearing these little red poppy flower pins on their uniforms. I hadn't seen them before so I asked what it was about. "Remembrance Day."
It's the Canadian equivalent of Veteran's Day, held on the same day. I stayed at a truck stop last night that had a box of them at the counter, no price attached, just in exchange for a donation. So I dropped in a US dollar (they take all currency) and pinned one on for the day, in honor of Papaw.
Wait. It gets better.
My current run takes me down the AB2 through a town called Nanton. It's tiny. You've probably never heard of it (not being hipster, just a fact). It's less than an hour south of Calgary. Nanton has a WW2 Bomber museum that I have driven by a few times. Since I might not be coming back through Nanton before the end of this run, I decided to walk down there and take some pictures.
This statue had a couple of plaques all around it. I took plenty of pictures, but with my battery low, the camera died before I could take all the ones I wanted. This was literally the last one I got:
I took the poppy pin off my shirt and stuck it on top of that Korea plaque, in honor of my grandfather. We're not Canadians, but his lifelong career brought me through this town on this day, and I choose to find some serendipity in that. Maybe there's a reason my battery died before I could snap a shot of my poppy on the plaque. That'll just have to be mine.
That's all. Carry on.