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.
THE EIGHTEEN WHEELER'S HYMN
On a sunny day or stormy night you'll know we're passing by,
rhythmic sound of eighteen wheels and a Diesel's haunting cry
We may be "hammer down" for home or a distant port of call.
goods of commerce, war and peace, eighteen wheelers move it all
Our ranks include the country boys with the friendly mischief grin,
hobo's haunted by their past or the "hand" they couldn't win.
There's "macho vets" and "trucker-ettes" and the bearded
With knee high boots, long shaggy curls and shank with folding blade.
From the eastern reaches of our land to California's tide,
the desert valleys hot and dry across the Great Divide,
To the border towns of Texas where the senoritas smile,
eyed gals from Mexico who dance fandango style.
Now we're not full of the kind of "bull" that a Casanova hurls.
would not ever tell a lie or "prevaricate" to girls.
We just "tells it like it is", our motives are sincere,
snuggle up and let us whisper "truth" into your ear
We sweat the death trap mountain pass where the grades are long
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",
those beauty queens in New Orleans provide us "turbo boost".
And just as we are being charmed by a "JAW-JUH PEACH'S" drawl,
assigns a "smokin' load" and we're back to Montreal.
You'll see us in Los Angeles and the Kansas country side.
feet and "eighty grand" are the eighteen wheels we ride.
The northwest state of Washington where the hairy bigfoot roams
back southeast to "Alabam" where the Gulf Coast waters foam
We ride the AlCan Highway to the land of "many snows"
down by Old Mexico where the Rio Grande flows
And about the time the waitress smiles and says she lives alone
we gotta ride "Big Rig" again, a load to San "Antone"
We sweat out New York City Streets where we gotta "tandem slide",
an old Chicago overpass that's low and not too wide.
And those California "Free For Alls", the high speed "bump and grind",
out of route" a hundred miles if we miss an Exit Sign.
"Deliver cargo safe on time" is the eighteen wheeler's creed,
every day's a different day with some challenge guaranteed.
Tho we may sweat the D.O.T. and the Smokies radar gun,
always glad when dispatch calls and we have another run.
We're "double gendered" now you know, we've got ladies "jammin
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.
they try to make all men believe they're "Cassanova-ettes"?
And I wonder if they "propagate" our "legendary bull",
they "brag or gripe" appropriate about the loads they pull?
We're charmed by distant ports of call and a Diesel's throbbing
Haulin' freight, the lay over wait and the country rollin' by
You may not envy us our job but the "flip side of
We aren't shackled to a desk or a factory in Des Moines!!
Ivan L. Fail The Peon Poet, aka The True Tall Truck Tale Teller
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.
TRUE TALL TALES BY IVAN A K A. “TRUE
THE TRUE TALL TALE TELLER!
BILLY'S BOUNCE--FEATURING "MOPED COX"
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?
I started lookin' closer at what his "hams" concealed,
I saw a pair of handle bars and a tiny set of wheels.
on a billiard ball I thought as I observed,
Watched Billy and his "noble" steed straighten out a hair pin curve.
dust and gravel flew, the moped heaved and bucked.
The seat was soon "absconded from" where Billy's butt was tucked.
priceless was the look upon his chubby face,
As he "launched" from off that moped's seat and went spinning out through
Would he ever fall to earth, I started having doubts.
If it didn't happen quick, ol Bill would be "astro nowt"!
last ol Bill's "trajectory" began to ""curve to earth",
That expression on his face would bring the Devil "mirth".
laundry kept a slippin, as both hands "clutched his drawers"
His eyes kept getting bigger, his face was full of horror!
last he came to earth and landed with a bounce,
The air was filled with "crude descriptions" of infernal two wheeled mounts.
bet the next time Billy rides a moped down the road,
It'll have a governor, "outrigger wheels", A PARACHUTE and a pair
The image of this escapade is priceless in my thoughts.
The historic ride of "Moped Cox" in a "PRE-LAUNCH"
IVAN L. FAIL, (THE PEON POET -, TRUE TALL TALE TELLER) (c) 1988
846 South Linden
Sparta, Missouri 65753