If We Were Having Coffee – August 23/2015

Terminal Territory – a New Beginning




Paul Your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul; I’ll be your barista today. I’m happy to see you have come for a cuppa and a chat. I am delighted to be back at Willow’s serving you, our treasured readers, a cuppa and sweets while we chat. Please come into the garden and make yourself comfortable. Willow fluffed the cushions on the chairs and set the tables in the garden so we can have a cuppa and chat as we soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful plants. She has also brought out the heaters so we can stretch our outside tea time further into the fall. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax amongst the flowers while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

Well, my week had a few rough moments but things seem to be improving now so all is good. In preparation for writing this post I was pondering restarts and realized that I had told a trucking story while guesting over at Mark’s, about the very first time I pulled into the terminal with my new truck, starting a new job – and my thoughts and feelings.  You  can read it  here. I realized that the very last time I was in that terminal was an interesting story as well and thought I might tell it here, if you’re interested. It actually happened in the second week of October some years ago and it marked a new beginning.


After 6 years of working for the company in Maine I was offered a position with a home town company doing really interesting work – hauling all the stuff that no one else wanted to, or could, haul- oversized, nuclear, overweight, multiple extra axles, escorted, military weapons, biohazards, etc. The company was a specialized carrier – meaning they did what no one else would or could – and elite outfit. No two loads were the same and a lot of thinking went into each load – the reward wasn’t for getting it there the fastest but rather the safest. My forte, so I switched companies. I had worked for them for about 3 months when I had an accident and rolled my truck – just body damage, no load damage or injuries, and while I was waiting for repairs to be done I drove a company truck for a few months.Then one day in Massachusetts, my dispatcher told me to come back to the yard in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia empty- a very rare occurrence. I was in one of the highest density transport corridors in Eastern North America (Boston- New York) with an empty flatbed and I was going to drive 1,000 kilometers (about 660 miles) empty? No, there was something going unsaid here. I told Jennifer – the dispatcher – that I would need money for fuel and food. Typically, I would draw an advance when I had a load aboard but heading back empty I need the cash now. We used a number of fund transfer systems, but most commonly a system called Comchek. They had an account at Comchek and if I wanted funds they would authorize release for whatever the agreed upon amount would be and give me an authorization number. With that and their account number, I could pick up the cash at any Comchek agent – which was virtually every truck stop in North America – and it was debited from their account. Jennifer hesitated and told me to call from Dysart’s – a truck stop in Bangor Maine that we all used prior to turning east to Canada. Flashing alarm bells went off in my head – it was irrelevant where in the universe I was, Comchek was centralized- if I couldn’t get money in Mass, I couldn’t get it in Maine. I had just enough fuel to get to Dysart’s but then would have no money for food or fuel. Typically, I ran close on cash and this didn’t bother me – it was a minute’s work to get cash anywhere 24/7 with a Comchek number – but apparently that was no longer an option.

With a number cash anywhere


I grumbled but walked out to the truck and climbed in to head out to Bangor. The trucking part was old hat now and I enjoyed the feeling of the big diesel rumbling as speed built on the interstate. The trailer was empty and followed neatly behind, ever vigilant. I could feel all the normal vibrations and taste the smells that constituted the personality of the truck. It was home now and I was comfortable and alert here. Surprises were rare and easily handled with the experience I had accumulated over the past 7 years. During that time there had been some exhilarating moments, some very sad moments and some excruciatingly hair-raising moments of unparalleled terror. All of it used to shape and guide future behaviour. I was a part of this world now and it a part of me. I could glance at a truck and tell you how heavy he was loaded, if the driver was new or just didn’t care or if I was looking at a professional. Feeling a little under the weather I plugged in Red Sovine’s Teddy Bear to have a pity party – I would never admit to the other drivers that I listened to Red’s music, but when I was down it helped.

Would you like another cuppa. We have adult beverages to add to that if you like. And perhaps a sweet or two? We are going to have some fun here, so get ready. The 239 miles to Bangor passed uneventfully as I pondered Jennifer’s cryptic comment. I used to assess customers’ ability pay for the company and I could smell a cash shortage a long ways away – and this had that stink. Sure enough when I called the office from Bangor, the owner came on the phone and told me to bring the truck back to the yard. I explained that my fuel tanks were empty – perhaps enough for 20 miles and I had no food. Mike – the owner- would give me no more info but just insisted that I find a way back with his truck. He got very blustery and reminded me that I had his equipment and any attempt on my part to do anything other than return it to the yard would result in him taking legal action. That was so out of line – my being an employee driving for him for many months at his request when I was where and when he asked me to be- it was clear to me that they were going bankrupt. He had gone to a route response, without considering the impact of his words. Hmmm, that gave me information and offered options that I didn’t have before. I told him I would get back to the terminal and we disconnected – in many ways.

So, I was in Maine, 450 miles from home with empty fuel tanks, no money for food and the company was bankrupt. No problem. My previous employer, the company in Maine, was about 100 miles away on the route home so I gave the owner a call. I knew that the two companies did business with each other and that my current employer owed Dale – my past employer – for a number of loads, likely $10,000 USD or more. When I got Daleon the phone, I told him I had a deal for him.

“Dale, I am here to make your day brighter.” “More likely you want me to help you, you mean.” Dale could be so cynical. “Well, I may end up getting some benefit, but you will come out the big winner, guaranteed.” “What do you want Paul?” “Mikey is going bankrupt and no one but you and I know yet. I know he owes you and you’ll never get your money – unless of course you have something of his.” “What do you mean Mike is going bankrupt? He has two of my loads right now.” Ahhh, the stakes grow. I explained my request for fuel and food and Mike’s surreal response. “So what do you think that means Dale?” Dale was no man’s fool and had dealt with other companies for years. “You’re right, he’s losing it. What do you propose I do?” He knew I wouldn’t be on the phone to complain – I had a plan or I wouldn’t have called. “Well, you send me $100 for fuel, $200 for food and travel expenses and I will deliver to your yard one tractor-trailer that is the property of our common friend Mike. There is no way he will be able to get at it being as he is in another country and you can hold it as collateral against any money he owes you. If one of your guys will give me a lift to Dartmouth so I can get home, I’ll be happily on my way and you can be assured of getting paid.”

There was a long pause on the line while Dale processed this. “You mean you would sell out Mike?” “Dale, I am obeying orders – he told me to find my own way home and left me 450 miles away with his equipment and no money. I promised him I would get home. He just assumed I would bring his truck with me but if I have to sell it to you for the amazingly low price of $300 then that is what it takes. He has other creditors who would be interested too, I’m sure – it’s just that you’ve been good to me before, so I am offering you this amazing deal first.” Honestly, I should have made a living selling used cars. Ha! “Done. But how do I know I can trust you?” “Come on Dale we worked together for 6 years, you know you can.” “Right. OK. Here’s an authorization number for $300 by Comchek” as he rattled off a number, “When will you be here?” “Give me 2 ½ hours and you will have $100,000 worth of collateral; Don’t mention this to anyone until I am in your yard – if Mike gets whiff he could have the State Troopers stop me. That would be bad for both of us.” Ahhh, co-conspirator of mine,

With a spring in my step, I crossed to the fuel desk, gave them the Comchek number and received my $300. I put in $100 worth of fuel (less than ¼ tank), grabbed somesandwiches to go and headed down the Airline (Route #9) for the terminal.

Airline – Route #9 Maine



The truck was purring along, not even caring that it was headed for purgatory through no fault of its own. In fact it felt surprisingly jubilant. I pulled into the same now-familiar yard on a late fall afternoon with the leaves changing in rural Maine. There was a light breeze as I parked in the line-up and grabbed my already packed suitcase to step down from the truck. Dale was standing waiting for me as I crossed the lot and I held out the keys and then dropped them in his out-stretched hand. “There you go sir, as promised, one tractor trailer for the princely sum of $300. The best deal you ever got.” “Tom over there is going to Dartmouth as soon as he is done his paperwork, you can ridewith him.” “Thanks Dale. Oh, and Mike will likely try to steal this back so you should have one of the mechanics remove a critical component or two.” Dale just nodded. That was the last time I ever saw him or the terminal yard where so many memories had been made. It felt like a cheerful parting.

Dartmouth after Dark


Not long after Tom and I headed out to home. With only 350 miles to go, we took turns driving and chatting and we were in Dartmouth in the wee hours of the morning. I had my girl friend pick me up from the industrial center where Tom was delivering and we dropped my paperwork from my last load at the office and then went home to sleep. The next day, bright and early I called Mike. “Hey Mike, I’m back. Thought you’d want to know.” “Where’s the truck Paul?” Apparently he paid attention to what was, or more specifically wasn’t, in his yard. Ha! “Well, remember I said I didn’t have any money and you wouldn’t send me any?” “Where’s the fucking truck Paul?” “So”, I continued,” I ran it until it was out of fuel and I had to leave it in a safe place, because you know you wouldn’t send me any money for fuel for your truck.” “The fucking truck Paul, the fucking truck –WHERE IS IT?”


I was enjoying this far too much. “Well Mike, I knew you would want it safe so I left it all locked up in Dale’s yard.” “Bring me the fucking keys Paul.” “Well, Dale’s yard is quite small and he needed to keep the keys to move it when he needed to. I thought you would be happy that the truck was safe Mike.” Bwahahaha!


On that note, that’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and enjoy the garden. Sweets anyone? I hope you didn’t mind the story today, it seemed to mean a new start for me- a Fall new start as so often happens in life. Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all happy that Willow is back and honored that you all dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

Fancy Coffee at your request!



Author: willowdot21

Female, wife, full time mother and Grandmother. I am not as happy go lucky as I used to be but I am still bubbling along on simmer! I have three handsome sons all grown and flown.The youngest married with a beautiful wife and two sons of his own. Eleven years ago I was working, running a home, driving and socializing then bang in a split second all that was gone. I had an accident at home. I broke my back, not for the first time, I had broken it 10 years previously as well. Unfortunately this time I had broken it really badly and it was truly messed up so I had to have two operations. I was told before each operation that the outcome could mean I spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. Still as some guy once wrote "I am still standing " yes "better than I ever was " not quite but with the help of a walking stick and as long as I do not stand or sit in one position for too long, I am still standing! Update I no longer use the walking stick . I had lots of friends before the accident but when things like this happen, you loose most of them. Their lives move on and mine stood still and so they left me behind ...I know that is just the way life is but it hurt and always will. Then I looked around and saw those who were still there for me, these friends are the roses in my garden they need to be tended well. They are the diamonds in the dust, I will of been married 50yrs plus this year . Pain and boredom are my enemies now, I have to find different ways to approach life, use my pain befriend it almost...yer right , well that is what they tell me at the pain clinic ROFLMAO ...... if only I could! I have found an outlet for my fears, frustrations and night terrors . I have started writing poetry if that name can be applied to my writing. I hope I do not come over as a moaning winger. I hope I am past all that. I also hope that you might see how the poetry is moving from very dark through the grey and hopefully in to light ?? I need to update this a little here. I have worked very hard over the years since my accident, I go to the gym regularly, I have a Pilates class and a core class once a week . The guys at the gym and my Pilates teacher cajoled, teased, bullied and encouraged me to abandon my walking stick! :) My back is no longer straight it is C shaped because of the injury and I have lost two and a half inches in height but my Pilates and Core teachers have helped me to stand up as straight and as strongly as possible. Pain and depression are still hanging on my arm but I have weapons to use against them and if I say so myself I cope well. I have made lots of new friends, real diamonds. I am also very grateful for all the support and help I have encountered here on Wordpress. Hugs and welcome to everyone who visits.

63 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee – August 23/2015”

    1. Hi Victo! Thanks so much for dropping by. I was actually being good. Think about it – dozens of trucks scattered across North America with drivers who had all been stiffed of back pay -and no way to trace them (the satellite tracking is the first thing disconnected in that case). Whooo yeee – they get stripped, or used for personal revenue production – no questions asked. And just think about what you could do if the truck were expendable and you didn’t care if it survived the load. There were some nasty options out there – like load it with hazardous chemicals and bury the whole thing – for cash. Selling them for parts could get you $50,000 cash as well.I used to get asked a few times a year if I wanted cash for the truck – a $100,000 truck can be disassembled and sold for $250,000 for the parts – no questions asked. What I did may not have made Mike happy, but it was just taking what I needed – and the rest was sort of “safe”. Ha!

      His Daddy had a very profitable business and was bankrolling Mike. Which meant that there was money to get us home, he just wasn’t parting with it. Which was fine by me – my conscious was clear- he actually went out of business owing me a few thousand, but that’s OK. I just moved and had a new job the next week. That as why I always ran on company advances – it reduced the amount owed so if there were problems my pay was hedged.

      Anyway, I was being nice Victo, believe me. 🙂

  1. Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post Willow.I’m praying for the health of your sister – I hope the week brings good news.

    1. Ha! Thanks CM! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for dropping by and unloading a comment. 😀

    1. Ha! Thanks so much for dropping by Kerbey. IT is not unusual for trucking companies to change hands or closeup shop. You get used to what the financial drivers are when show time comes. I can tell you some funny stories. The banks are very tight when financing “rolling stock” because it can be hard to catch if the time ever comes. Ha! Kind of like herding cats.

      1. It has to be one of my most favorite short videos ever. 😀 Thanks so much Sadie for dropping by.

  2. I will do my level best to avoid getting on your bad side. Especially if that side is your semi-truck. Great read, Paul. We definitely need share a face-to-face brew some time, my friend.

    1. Thank’s so much for dropping by Ned! Yep, I would really enjoy sitting down and trading war stories. I bet you have a whack of them as a humorist, reporter and before that opening new businesses. Thanks for the praise Ned – I am pleased that you enjoyed the story. I’m really a teddy bear (pun on the Red Sovine drawl). 😀

    1. IB! Thanks so much for dropping by! It is wonderful to see you here. Pull up a chair and a coffee and join in. Thanks so much for the read and I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. Please drop by again.

    1. Hi Art! I knowy ou are a busy man so I am chuffed to have you drop by. So glad you enjoyed the story – i really have to get a par of sunglasses for my picture -what do you think? Ha! Please drop by again. 😀

    1. Ha! Thanks so much Beth for the visit and the compliment. It would make a good short film wouldn’t it? I know just the person to make it too – GG. All I need is the funding. Ha! I am so pleased to have you drop by Beth – please come again.

    1. Hi Colleen! Thanks so much for popping by for a read. Yep, he owed me that plus more. With the paperwork I turned in (we were paid by the load) plus hold backs, he owed me around $2,000. I could have screwed him a dozen ways to get that (just the wheels alone were worth about $500 each on the truck) and all I took was enough to get me home. He was responsible to the bank for about 25 X $100,000 units scattered all across North America. He may have been pissed off at me because I didn’t give him what he wanted but I’m willing to bet that his bank was happy knowing where at least one unit was and that it was intact and safe. This was the first time he had had a business fail -Daddy was rich – and he was young. He didn’t realize that he had a lot more to worry about than what I did. Ha! I think, in the end he got one unit back intact.

      Thanks for the visit Coleen. Please drop by again. 😀

      1. I’m enjoying your stories Paul. I’m glad you had the experience behind you to know what was going on. And how to deal with it. I wonder what ever came of that guy?

      2. Excellent question Coleen – I just looked him up on Linkedin and he owns a moving company in Halifax.

      3. He was an alright boss. I had no complaints. It was just that he was young and felt entitled and when his business failed, he lost it. Or as Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “People are like tea bags: you really don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” Ha!

  3. Great story, Paul. I must ask, which country put you in jail for track-napping, U.S. or Canada? Ha! That’s pretty serious maneuvering with a man’s rig. Welcome back to Willow’s, indeed.

    (By the way, your headline says it’s an August 23, 2015 Cuppa. That makes this look like a rerun, I think.)

    Hi, Willow! Thanks for letting Paul tell this wicked tale of pirating on the highway. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by Mark! Ha! Truck – napping. ha! Hey, everyone knew where everything was – nothing was hidden. Now where I left things may have been inconvenient but that’s not my problem – can’t drive a truck without fuel. Ha! Mikey never spoke to me again after that. ha! No sense of humor that lad.

      The date issue was mine Mark -I gave it to Willow that way in error and she was having such a bad week – i didn’t like to bother her when I noticed it. My error.

      Thanks again for the visit Mark – I am honored.

  4. Gosh. I’ve never been called a treasure before. Nice. I could get used to it. Does it cost extra?

    What did he expect you to do? Fill the tanks (and your belly) on your own dime? If his company was going under, he probably had weightier matters on hand aside from your belly. Wasn’t that kind of like kicking a dog when he’s down? Was Mike malicious or just desperate ?

    1. Hey Mark! Awesome that you dropped by – thank you. He expected me to use my own money to get his truck back. His Father bankrolled the company and there was money – they just weren’t parting with it. He owed me about $2,000 in wages and hold backs – he had my money and had father’s money. He had all the toys – the big house, the $60,000 pick-up, the motorboats, etc. I didn’t have an issue with that – but I was not going to use more of my money to make his life easier. He was a nice guy – and he was a user. I didn’t take his truck off line even one mile on the way home. If he had given me money for fuel and food, I would have gladly brought the truck back to his yard. He was just a rich kid who expected people to do what he told them. That’s how they get rich and stay rich Mark – and why you and I likely won’t ever be that way.

      His personal stuff was all in his Dad’s company’s name – he stood to loose nothing. I used what resources I had to get myself home and make sure his equipment was safe. I did accomplish both. If he was square with Dale, there would be no impediment to him just driving his truck home. Again, he owed Dale, because that was what Mike did – he owed people while he used their money for his own purposes.

      Thanks so much for the visit – I am honored and, of course you are a treasure. 🙂 Please drop by again.

    1. Barry! Great to have you drop by -thank you. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the story.It is fun writing them. To be honest I always think I’m out of stories and then another pops up. Kind of like the little “Whack-a-Mole” game at the fair. Ha! Knock one down and another pops up. As long as they keep coming, I’ll keep writing.m Thanks so much for the visit. Please come again Barry.

  5. {Laughing} Now that was funny!! “You mess with the bull & you get the horns!!” 😉
    Really glad I came to this one right after I read about your 1st haul. Thanks for the host Willow!

    1. Sadie!! So awesome to have you drop by. I am honored. I too thought it was a bit humorous but some found it a bit rough. Ha! Such a pleasure to see you here and I am pleased that you enjoyed the piece. Please drop by again.

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