Jun 28, 2016

A Day In The Life

Years ago, when I was about 25, I was driving a tractor-trailer for a concrete block company delivering block all over NC, SC, VA and east Tennessee. Then I was second shift supervisor in the block plant 5 nights a week and Saturday mornings.

Often my deliveries required I leave home at midnight to get there on time. Second shift didn't end until 11:00 PM. The long hours and stress were taking its toll.

One Saturday morning early I went in, fired up the concrete plant and started getting everything ready. Come starting time none of the 10 man crew was there. I kept the machines warming up and waited about 15 minutes. Still nobody showed up.

I called my boss but didn't get an answer so I called his boss-- the owner of the company. His wife answered the phone.

I explained to her that I was at work but no one had showed up but me-- it was impossible to run the entire plant alone. The phone went quite for a while then she said, "Billy, it's Sunday morning. We're always closed on Sunday mornings. My husband wants you to go home, take today and tomorrow off and be in his office early Tuesday morning."

I was panic struck! Nothing good could come of this, I thought.

On Tuesday morning I was in the owner's office before he came to work. He took me off the truck, promoted me to plant manager, and promoted the previous plant manager to vice president.

Then we had to hire a truck driver.

Jun 26, 2016

Birds, Bees and Hamsters

Selling pets can get interesting sometimes. As I was putting a dwarf hamster into a cage for this little Hispanic girl she asked me, "How do you tell the girls from the boys?"

This kid might have been six. Had she been my daughter we would have taken the opportunity to learn boy hamsters from girl hamsters. (With my glasses on I can actually find their tiny parts.) But there is no way in hell I'm going to explain this to another man's baby girl. I looked at her father and said, "I'll show your daddy so he will remember, okay?"

Suddenly her daddy, a great big Hispanic man, looked to be horrified. Obviously he wasn't ready for this conversation either. He looked at me and said, "Just put one of each in the cage and the hamsters can figure it out."

I laughed, he laughed, his wife laughed, the little girl and her sisters were clueless. I put a male in the cage to go with the female and said, "No charge for the second one."

He shook my hand, thanked me in Spanish and English and took his family home to enjoy their new hobby.

Jun 23, 2016

Yankees Eat Chitterlings Too

I was driving a tractor-trailer and had to enter the city about 2AM to beat the traffic and be at my dock by my 5 AM scheduled unloading time. Of course, despite being quite prompt the consignee didn't need what was on my trailer until later in the day so I got pushed back. It was well past Noon before I got unloaded, I had unloaded 44,000 Lbs of freight by hand, had not ate since the day before and was HUNGRY.

Now as anyone who knows Brooklyn knows, places to park long tractor-trailers as are used in coast to coast shipping are few and far between but eventually I did find a portion of the right side of the road just long enough to fit truck and trailer near a sign that read, "Deli."

Now granted I knew what a deli was but having grow up in North Carolina had never before seen a real deli.But when it comes to eating I've always been the adventurous sort so I wasn't scared at all.

When I walked in there was this big stereotypical Italian butcher stuffing sausages behind the counter and shouting at the staff and all the customers. I hate to describe people in such generalizations but this was the loud mouth Italian butcher the stereotype was created from. I've met lots of Italians since and none were as loud and pushy as this guy.

He shouted to me to ask if he could help me. I told him I needed time to decide. It was then he noticed my Southern accent and started making jokes about my being from down South, ignorant Southerners and the like. He made a joke about Southerners eating chitterlings and asked if I ate chitterlings. I told him I preferred them fried and everyone in the room started laughing at me on his cue.

Then I looked at him and asked, "What are you doing?"

"What," he laughed, "you never seen nobody stuff sausages before, Southern boy?"

"Oh I've seen people stuff sausages before," I said, "I just never seen 'em waste good chitterlings to do it."

Everyone in the room including his wife started laughing at him. His wife gave me lunch for free, said it was worth it to see him be the fool for once.

Jun 21, 2016

Pandas

Pandas are black and white. And they don't have a problem with that.

Jun 16, 2016

Have They Thought This Thing Out?

Driverless Trucks

Will driverless trucks stop to pick up homeless hitchhikers
as they make their way to places where
they have been told there are jobs to be had?

Will driverless trucks swerve to miss a baby playing in the street
and kill themselves in the process?
Or will they think it only a small animal and use minimal braking?

Will driverless trucks stop when protestors block the streets
 or will they be programmed to kill?

Will driverless trucks replace the drivers in truck bombs?

Jun 14, 2016

How To Store Onions

So I've been cleaning up in the shed this morning, picking up a bunch of sockets and ratchets that fell to the floor when I knocked them off the work bench some time back.

I looked up from where I was working and saw the remains of several nylon stockings tied to nails on the rafters above. That's odd, I thought. I got up to investigate closer.

It was when I spotted the almost 40 year old sticker with the word "Vidalia" that it came to me why the stockings were there.

About 40 years ago when Daddy and I were trucking together we picked up a tractor-trailer load of Vidalia Onions at a shipper in Vidalia County, Georgia. I can't remember where we hauled them to but when we got there we had more cases of onions on the trailer than the customer wanted.

The customer didn't want to pay for any extra onions and the shipper didn't want to give them to the customer for free so as sometimes happens in trucking our dispatcher told us to find a dumpster somewhere and toss them.

Like that was really going to happen. Over the years I've been left with potatoes, flour, laundry detergent, pallets of Wendy's drink cups, Pecans, Walnuts, candy canned goods, electronics, grass seed, you name it. And never have I tossed it in a dumpster.

As always, we gave away Vidalia onions to everyone who would take them all the way home and still ended up with 2 cases full of Vidalia Onions when we returned. Momma was happy to get free onions but almost certain they would rot before they could be used.

So Momma got to thinking, found several pairs of her old stockings and went to work stuffing and knotting stockings with Vidalia Onions in long strings with a knot separating each onion. Then Daddy hung them in the building where they'd stay cool for the winter.

When Momma needed an onion she simply took her scissors and cut one off the bottom. Now, almost 40 years later all that remains are short pieces of nylon and a sticker that says, "Vidalia".

Jun 2, 2016

Mini Nuggets For Sale

Sophia, NC-- Reporters for Wackemall Network News were amused Saturday when they witnessed a little boy approximately 3 years of age run up to a pet vendor at the 311 Flea Market, point at the parakeets and shouted, "Look, chicken nuggets!"

His mother quickly dragged him away as vendors and customers laughed.

This edition of the the Wackemall Network News has been brought to you by the Campaign to Elect Billy Jones, Mayor of Greensboro 2017.