Down through the years, we were classmates, teammates, groomsmen, and hunting and fishing buddies. Prior to all of that, our two fathers were friends as well. I still have pictures of the two of them together back when they were teens growing up in the 1950s.
My own dad passed away back in the January of 2000. Now, a little over fourteen years later, his friend, and Anthony’s father, has also passed on. Mr. Wayne Richards was a loving, faithful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who was found by his family in his bed, where he had apparently died peacefully in the night. He will be missed by many.
According to his obituary, after leaving high school, Mr. Richards served in the United States Navy for several years before marrying Miss Jean Babb, the love of his life, in 1960 down in Fayette County, Georgia. He then drove for Brown Transport and several other trucking companies throughout a long and extensive career as a truck driver, where he was considered by all who knew him "a walking road map of the United States and Canada".
I thought I would post two pieces today in honor of this very special man:
The first is titled What is a Trucker? I believe it aptly describes the heart of Mr. Richards.
Truckers are found on highways, in truck stops, in service bays, on loading docks, on bush roads at fuel stops and often they are the first at the scene of an accident. Their wives help them. Little boys follow them. Relatives don’t understand them. Meals must wait for them. Weather can delay them. But nothing can stop them.
A trucker is a paradox. He is a blue-jeaned executive with his office in the cab. He is a scientist who hauls dangerous chemicals and explosives, a purchasing agent in a baseball cap, a personnel director with grease under his fingernails, a poor eater with fondness for burgers and fries, a student of geography and a weather watcher.
He likes sunshine, children, smooth pavement, good traction, clean loads, dinner at home, weekends with his family, an unbuttoned shirt collar and country music. And there is a special place in his heart for his rig.
He's not fond of city traffic, tourists who are rotten drivers, fuel prices, dispatchers, snarly receivers, kids in high powered cars and least of all drunk drivers. Nobody else gets as much satisfaction out of talking about trucks, truckers, good weather, homemade pie, strong coffee, kids, wives, sweethearts, and the price of fuel.
He is your friend and customer. He is your source of food, clothing, petroleum and natural resources. In fact, nearly everything in your life arrived in his truck.
The second is titled A Truckers Prayer. I am quite sure that, not only had he heard it, but also that he had prayed it himself many times.
Dear God above, bless this truck I drive
and help me keep someone alive
Be my mortal sight this day
on the street where little children play
Bless my helper fast asleep
when the night is long
And keep my cargo safe and sound
through the hours big and round
Make my judgment sound as steel
and be my hands upon the wheel
Bless the traveler going past
and teach them not to go so fast
Give me strength for every trip
so I may care for what they ship
And make me mindful every mile
that life is just a little while....Amen