Well, strange as it seems to me, I have retired. Mostly. After 41 years of writing about trucks and trucking, 33 since launching Today’s Trucking, I’ve pulled into the yard and parked it. This is not my very last column, but future contributions may be somewhat irregular. And now I have the lofty title of Editor Emeritus.
In those four decades I’ve seen more changes – some of them mighty dramatic – than there were in the previous 41 years. By far. Hell, there have been more changes in the last 10 years than in any other such stretch.
Trucking has never been easy but now it’s mighty difficult, on everyone, no more so than on owner-operators and small fleets. My first editorship was on the long-lost owner-op magazine Canadian Driver/Owner, and I guess that’s where this loyalty was born. Those people have always been my main target, always the ones who seemed to be most in need of what I could provide by way of information about the technologies, the rules and regs, the business savvy required to make it all work. I certainly have never had all the answers, but I’ve had the benefit of an eagle’s-eye view of things and access to information that the ordinary truck operator doesn’t have the chance to see and absorb. The fact is that all I’ve ever wanted to do is serve, which may sound like so much apple pie, but it’s true.
It was at my very first truck show in Winnipeg back in 1979 that I grasped the role of an editor in this industry. I was at our booth when a Hutterite family approached – husband, wife, and three girls – and the man thanked me for providing articles that helped him in running the trucks on his farm. His gratitude has motivated me ever since.
I’ve won quite a few awards over the years, including a couple of lifetime achievement honors, but they were all as judged by my peers. I’m immensely grateful, of course, but the only approval I’ve ever sought is yours, the reader’s. Happily, I see that approval at truck shows and events all the time when strangers stop me to say thanks for what I do. A couple of years ago a 40s-something guy said he’d been reading me since he was 16, learning all the way. I was touched, to say the least, and a little shocked to realize how old I was!
I’ve had the opposite, too, not surprisingly. Last summer I had a mighty nasty message from a reader who called me names that can’t be printed here. Incredibly, he said he wanted to watch me die by hooking me to a CPAP machine and connecting that in turn to a truck’s exhaust pipe. Really. I was stunned at first but then I laughed because the fact is, I could breathe in diesel exhaust without doing myself harm. He must have meant a pre-2010 truck.
I won’t thank that fellow, but there are many others who deserve my gratitude, too many to name. Except for the late Merv Orr, a smart, tougher-than-nails little guy with a Grade 4 education and a boatload of experience in trucking. I met him within just a month or so of entering this game and we became fast friends. He also became my mentor and was utterly invaluable in teaching me the ins and outs of our industry. Taught me to drive truck too.
That knowledge was instrumental in helping me make a success of Today’s Trucking, and of Highwaystar too, in its short 10-year life. To say that I’ve enjoyed my time here is an understatement. So thanks, dear reader, for your support.
If you have the urge, drop me a line and tell me what you think of the last 40 years in trucking. Or however long you’ve been at it. Get in touch via email@example.com.
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