"The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"

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Z Square 7 Crew Cemeteries.
Missing Air Crew Report
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Memorial Lt Eugene M. Thomas Jr (Marion, Al)
Memorial Lt Francis X. Glacken (Cambridge, MA)
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Marcia Bassett McGrattan
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500th Bomb Group, 73rd Wing Honor Roll
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Father John McBride
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Frank Farr & Merseburg, Germany
"Lili Marlene" The Song!
"Lili Marlene" The B-17
"Lily Marlene" The B-24
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Ivan Fail Introduction and "Long Before The Guns And Tanks."
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M/Sgt Roy P. Benavidez, Vietnam Medal Of Honor
Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
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Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Airmen Medal Of Honor Memorial
Memorial Page #1
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The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
About The Book
C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
Ivan Fail "The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"
Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
Ivan Fail's "Against All Odds - Mission Complete"
Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
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Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
History of "Diamond Lil" With A Photo Album
History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
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C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
Pearl Harbor with Photo Album
The Pacific Theater
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Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
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Okinawa Medals of Honor
Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
Last Page


The Eighteen Wheeler’s Hymn evolved out of the first "Over The Road poem” that I composed shortly after starting my "over the road" career with CFI (Contract Freighters Inc.) out of Joplin about a year and a half after I retired from a 29 year and three prison career with the Federal Prison System. The title of that first poem was “That’s Life With CFI”. CFI’s advertising agency used segments of the poem in their national driver recruiting radio commercials for some time. I did receive an anonymous and insulting phone call from some anonymous and “timid” person who was too “shy” to identify himself but he did have the “courage” to insult my “talent” “anonymously” and for reasons I could never fathom.

Over the years I met and ran with many “colorful and interesting characters”. Sometime in the early 90's after delivering a load to St. Paul, Minnesota CFI dispatched me to St. Cloud to pick up and deliver a load to Calgary, Alberta. After I arrived at St. Cloud while I was backing my empty trailer into a space on the drop lot another CFI driver arrived. He informed me that he was going to Calgary too. I suggested that we run together and he agreed but he got his load first. I suggested that he meet me at our fuel stop at Fargo, North Dakota which I did after getting loaded some time later.

After we “hooked up” at Fargo we headed west. His CB handle was “Wallbanger” which aroused my curiosity but I neglected to ask him from whence his moniker evolved but I did ask him about his family. His only answer was “they're in the ground”.

Wallbanger was from Louisiana and had the classic Louisiana accent. He also had the Cajun comedian Justin Wilson’s repertoire memorized “verbatim” and it “fitted like a glove to his Cajun accent”. He didn't “look Cajun” but if you weren't eyeballing him while he went through his routine you would have almost sworn it was “Da man hiss ownself”.

We delivered in Calgary and entered back into the states at Sweet Grass, Montana where we had entered Canada a few hours earlier. We killed time at a truck stop in Montana till I was dispatched to dead head to Portland, Oregon and “Wallbanger” to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I ran into Wallbanger at the Joplin terminal a couple of times and a few month later I was en-route from El Paso to Joplin and stopped at Clovis, New Mexico to take a break. As I was walking back out to my truck I met a couple of our drivers and one of them asked me if I had heard about our driver who had just “starred on America’s Most Wanted” television. I said I hadn't heard about it and asked if they knew his “CB handle”. They didn't and I headed for Joplin.

I don't recall if it was on this run or a later one into Joplin that I encountered a friend at the terminal. I was “talking” as I am “prone to do” and I happened to mention running with a guy with the “different handle of Wallbanger”. She snapped her fingers and said “that’s the guy who was on America’s most wanted”.

At last I had learned from whence “Wallbanger” had been inspired to choose the handle of “Wallbanger” which he would use during his brief period “outside the walls that he no doubt banged on”quite a bit. Hopefully he got a break because he was a right likeable guy and I didn't get the impression that he was a “heavy hitter”. But then again “appearances are deceiving” even to a 29 year veteran federal prison officer –, as this example illustrates.. But they give you a “lot of time for a little crime” in Louisiana -, and they do “frown on runaways” –, especially “border jumping runaways”. But I do admit that I was “puzzled” about his evasiveness when I asked him about his family.

Note: The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn was composed "post first wife"---, and pre-dated current wife.


On a sunny day or stormy night you'll know we're passing by,
The rhythmic sound of eighteen wheels and a Diesel's haunting cry
We may be "hammer down" for home or a distant port of call.
The goods of commerce, war and peace, eighteen wheelers move it all

Our ranks include the country boys with the friendly mischief grin,
And hobo's haunted by their past or the "hand" they couldn't win.
There's "macho vets" and "trucker-ettes" and the bearded renegade,
With knee high boots, long shaggy curls and shank with folding blade.

From the eastern reaches of our land to California's tide,
From the desert valleys hot and dry across the Great Divide,
To the border towns of Texas where the senoritas smile,
Black eyed gals from Mexico who dance fandango style.

Now we're not full of the kind of "bull" that a Casanova hurls.
We would not ever tell a lie or "prevaricate" to girls.
We just "tells it like it is", our motives are sincere,
So just snuggle up and let us whisper "truth" into your ear

We sweat the death trap mountain pass where the grades are long and steep,
And the canyons off those hair pin curves are granite hard and deep.
And just one mistake is all it takes for one "Hellacious" ride.
When brakes get hot, we pray a lot, are the "speed ramps" occupied?

When we are down in "Luzianne" and our "circuits" need "re-juiced",
All those beauty queens in New Orleans provide us "turbo boost".
And just as we are being charmed by a "JAW-JUH PEACH'S" drawl,
Dispatch assigns a "smokin' load" and we're back to Montreal.

You'll see us in Los Angeles and the Kansas country side.
Sixty feet and "eighty grand" are the eighteen wheels we ride.
The northwest state of Washington where the hairy bigfoot roams
Then back southeast to "Alabam" where the Gulf Coast waters foam

We ride the AlCan Highway to the land of "many snows"
Then back down by Old Mexico where the Rio Grande flows
And about the time the waitress smiles and says she lives alone
DARN!, we gotta ride "Big Rig" again, a load to San "Antone"

We sweat out New York City Streets where we gotta "tandem slide",
And an old Chicago overpass that's low and not too wide.
And those California "Free For Alls", the high speed "bump and grind",
We're out of route" a hundred miles if we miss an Exit Sign.

"Deliver cargo safe on time" is the eighteen wheeler's creed,
And every day's a different day with some challenge guaranteed.
Tho we may sweat the D.O.T. and the Smokies radar gun,
We're always glad when dispatch calls and we have another run.

We're "double gendered" now you know, we've got ladies "jammin gears",
They're "reglar" size and some so small when they bounce they disappear.
They may not be all muscle bound, some petite, don't weigh too much.
But they know how to drive a rig, how to shift and double clutch!

Oh I wonder if they follow some examples that we've set.
Do they try to make all men believe they're "Cassanova-ettes"?
And I wonder if they "propagate" our "legendary bull",
Do they "brag or gripe" appropriate about the loads they pull?

We're charmed by distant ports of call and a Diesel's throbbing cry,
Haulin' freight, the lay over wait and the country rollin' by
You may not envy us our job but the "flip side of the coin"
We aren't shackled to a desk or a factory in Des Moines!! 

IŠ 1990

Ivan L. Fail The Peon Poet, aka The True Tall Truck Tale Teller
846 south Linden Ave
Sparta, Missouri 65753


The following poem was inspired by the disastrous ride of a friend . He weighs over three hundred pounds but he doesn't have much of a "rump". Consequently his britches are always on the brink of "going to China" since there is nothing to "wedge" them in place hence the comment about his "denims a slidin' lower". The very fact that a man of his "size and stature" would even entertain the thought of buying and riding a moped struck me as hilarious. The actual ride was even funnier than I could have imagined, especially since he was not seriously injured. Regrettably "Moped Cox" later died not from the consequences of being "bucked off a moped" but from a tick bite.





I saw it from ten miles away, a smokin' and a screamin',
Streakin' down a country road, I thought it was a demon.
But when it finally got up close, I've seen it all I thought,
As Bill Cox went a streakin' by in a "supersonic squat".
All hunkered down with panic "wrote" upon his chubby jowls.
Oh what was Bill astraddle of that seemed to smoke and growl?
Now Bill is not the wimpish type, he'd hefty as a moose.
But he was frightened of his steed and "scared" to turn it loose.
As I observed this awesome sight I struggled to ignore,
The fact that Billy's denims just kept a slidin' lower.
Pore ol Bill was terrified, confused and "flabbergasted",
His hiney was exposed, his "laundry" was "half masted".
The sight it was traumatic but I was mystified,
What was this speedin' demon that ol' Billy was astride?
When I started lookin' closer at what his "hams" concealed,
I saw a pair of handle bars and a tiny set of wheels.
A gorilla on a billiard ball I thought as I observed,
Watched Billy and his "noble" steed straighten out a hair pin curve.
The dust and gravel flew, the moped heaved and bucked.
The seat was soon "absconded from" where Billy's butt was tucked.
And priceless was the look upon his chubby face,
As he "launched" from off that moped's seat and went spinning out through space.
Would he ever fall to earth, I started having doubts.
If it didn't happen quick, ol Bill would be "astro nowt"!
At last ol Bill's "trajectory" began to ""curve to earth",
That expression on his face would bring the Devil "mirth".
His laundry kept a slippin, as both hands "clutched his drawers"
His eyes kept getting bigger, his face was full of horror!
At last he came to earth and landed with a bounce,
The air was filled with "crude descriptions" of infernal two wheeled mounts.
I'll bet the next time Billy rides a moped down the road,
It'll have a governor, "outrigger wheels", A PARACHUTE and a pair of "overloads"!
The image of this escapade is priceless in my thoughts.
The historic ride of "Moped Cox" in a "PRE-LAUNCH" "supersonic squat"!.

846 South Linden Ave
Sparta, Missouri 65753