Why I Chose Trucking

By: G. Ray Gompf, CD

Recently I was asked a question I thought I would share. “Why did you choose trucking”. I quickly replied I can narrow it down to one word: service. My questioner asked if I could explain and elaborate further so here goes.

Certainly, I was born a farmer; I was raised on a farm. Farming is a service and if you don’t think so, you’re a fool. At 18, I joined the army, that’s service too. Service is serving without truly knowing if your service is even appreciated. Appreciation is not the point; it is service. Then I moved to trucking which is the epitome of serving. Nobody appreciates what you do, nobody understands they’ve been given a service, and far too often, you’re treated like dirt. Yep, sounds like service to me.

On the farm, I remember milking cows by hand. I remember separating the milk. I remember churning cream into butter and counting the strokes of the churn. I remember scooping the butter into the moulds making sure the corners were perfectly filled and then turning the moulds out on the butter paper, making sure the folds were precise. Today, I see machine wrapped butter and not nearly the care was taken to do it right.

I recall haying, and this was loose not bailed. We used horses as motive power. I recall watching mice caught up in the hay and trying to make sure they didn’t become a part of the load. I recall the hard work that started at daybreak and lasted until you were finished. All to make sure the milk and butter were available for the market.

I recall the harvesting of grains both for livestock feeding and for grinding for table use. Service was part of the deal.

Then the military. There you clearly understood service and far too often we were scorned. Today the scorn has been replaced by “thank you for your service” and too often I don’t know how to respond. I served and I’m proud to have served. I’m glad you don’t have to do what I had to do. It’s something I live with daily, so you enjoy peace or relative peace. Again, recently someone asked me where I served. It’s memories I have suppressed for forty odd years, but the question brought back the horrors and I stopped for a few minutes with memories and the tears were very close. I told the story, not a story but the recollection and it wasn’t pretty, but finally someone heard me with compassion. Yes, I served.

Then when I returned to trucking, I worked for a Burns Food Transport out of Calgary, and this was before logbooks. My very first load for Burns outbound was a load of boxed meat for the Super Store in Moncton. That’s when I realized trucking is a service too. I recall thinking of Mrs. Smith in Riverglade, NB doing her Sunday roast of beef and if I didn’t do my part, she may not have that roast to roast. Yes, I served. I’m proud to have served even when no one knew I was serving.

We need not always get the recognition we may deserve but we know in our hearts we did the service and that’s just fine. No applause necessary.

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