Although the great majority of my driving was done in the lower tier of the United States, I spent many hours on the road in the Midwest and a couple of times went as far east as New York. Always with my CB radio handy.
The realization that folks in the South were much friendlier than those in the North caught me by surprise. I'm speaking in generalities here, only. Certainly, there were exceptions.
... ... (a confession) ... ...
I was coming in to Green Bay, on my way to visit my dad in Munising. As most always, I had my radideo on -- and, as per usual, no one wanted to talk to a gal who didn't know how to pronounce her vowels correctly.
Do any of you know anything about Green Bay Packer fans? They are vitriolic, rabid, nearly consumed by their fanaticism, and to be avoided at all costs (unless, of course, you happen to agree with them!).
Well, folks, the devil had his way with me that day. I grabbed the mike and shouted, "The Packers SUCK!!"
Then I quickly drove into the middle of a parking lot, grabbed the telltale antenna off of the roof, and snuck as quietly as I could out of town before they could find and lynch me. (Giggling all the way.)
... ... "The Undertaker" ... ...
Later, same trip. I was driving Dad to Minneapolis, and we were traveling through Wisconsin.
(And NO, I didn't tell him what I had done! You think I'm insane?? Don't answer that, OK? I'll admit to being a little weird at times, but that's as far as I'll go.)
We were traveling on roads that were, for the most part, two lanes (one each direction). All was pretty quiet, CB-wise. Every once in a while, I'd give a 'shout out', hoping that I'd get a response so Dad could experience talking over the airwaves to a complete stranger.
Well, it happened.
When "The Undertaker" identified himself, I was shocked silent for just a second, but then came back with this inanity, "You're an undertaker?!?"
"Oh, no," he said, "that's just my handle." When I asked how it was that he had come to choose that particular handle, he explained, "I'm the last person to let you down."
Dad and I laughed and laughed over that one!
Then, I asked if he had time to exchange a few words with Dad. He did. They did. A few moments that I still savor.
When I first started driving a taxicab back in 1989, I didn't have the CB in the car with me. I figured there wasn't much of a point in doing so.
There's a HUGE difference in CB-land between driving in the city and driving in the country.
In the country, you're concerned with safety, staying awake, directions, road and weather conditions, smokeys, etc. In the city, there's a seeming preponderance of 'land-based' (not on the road) advertising of wares, generally of the female persuasion. You get my drift, I'm sure.
And so, MANY years passed.
(I was just interrupted in my own train of thought here, as I was getting ready to close out this series, by a memory of conversations between myself and one of my regular taxicab customers. I'd like to share that memory with you. As with all of my stories, it's true.)
I saw this customer no more than twice a year, usually only once. We first met at one of Houston's two major airports (either Hobby or Intercontinental) by 'chance' --I was the first cab in line, and there he was.
We got along. Had a pleasant conversation. I invited further business. He acquiesced by asking me if I could pick him up the next day at such and such a time. He had a number of errands to run, he said. I would have to set aside 2-3 hours. I said, "Let's do it!"
Turns out that he worked offshore. He had lived in Houston at one time, and still maintained bank accounts here. In addition, he had friends in Clear Lake who kept his mail. We went all over the place!
A couple of years later, I learned that his mother (his dad had recently -- within the past year or so -- passed away), who now maintained a residence in Lower Michigan, still drove regularly between her new home and the 'old homestead', some 60+ miles away.
He was very concerned about her safety.
I suggested a CB radio. He nixed that idea. Said that both he and his brother (who was a truck driver and had a CB) had tried to get her to do the very same thing, and had been met with a huMONgous "NO!!"
I related a bunch of stories from my CB-traveling past, and encouraged him and his brother to keep trying. If she was traveling the same route each week (to and fro), surely -- I thought -- she would eventually come across at least one familiar-sounding voice!
He accepted all of my well-intentioned excerpts, I know, but I still got the feeling that he was despondent about the whole situation.
Well, a year or two later, he surprised me with the news that -- not only had his mother accepted the CB radio and agreed to try it out -- she had acquired a new friend or two along her frequently-traveled way. Isn't that just the neatest thing??
O.K. Here we are, many years later.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of my experiences in CB-land. I know that I have taken a great deal of pleasure in remembering and then recounting them for you.