Guest blogger: Fran … Part II


(editor’s note: Here’s Part II of out friend Fran’s story. See yesterday’s thread for Part I).

This whole trip was an oddball…. it was Thanksgiving day, and my mother always put on a big spread for this, and my sisters, and Aunt Bea would show up and it was a beautiful day always in my memories.

It was about 11 a.m. and the turkey was still in the oven, when I got a phone call. From Jimmy Mattz. He said, “eh College Boy, got a  run for  ya.”

“Hey Jimmy, it’s Thanksgiving…we’re all just getting ready,” I said.

He told me that this was a special run, had a huge amount of citrus to be gotten to make the market before this weekend. He’d lose too much money, and he didn’t trust any of the other apes that he hired now and then, and I was gratified to find that he put so much faith in me, but still. Thanksgiving.  So I told him that my mother would be heartbroken.  (But I needed that job and it was GOOD money.) He told me that he’d give me an extra 100 bucks bonus, and another 30 buck expense if I made the market…told me I could get a big dinner en route at a fancy restaurant and I could put a coin in the juke box and play some Guy Lombardo!

My mother prepared a dinner for me, complete with her apple pie, and I sat alone in the kitchen, for no one else was there yet, and I chowed down, packed my travel gear and took off. (I’d already told him I wanted the Ford tractor. It was his newest and most comfortable tractor…and he left it for me).  I took off on a beautiful autumn day and hit old Route 1 for the south land ( no interstates in those days. I was dead heading all the way (empty trailer), and I made it in uneventful fashion to Winterhaven  late that same night. Traffic all the way down was almost nonexistent. I had no weighing scales to worry about (more on those later), and it was a long boring trip. I crashed at a motel in Winterhaven and was up at crack of dawn and at the broker’s office before he arrived. … The broker was a guy who held an office at a convenient gas station and all truckers came thru him to get their hauls. I told him that I was there for the NY city load, and he mentioned that he’d been saving it for another trucker. (I called Jimmy Mattz at his “Office”  (The Coffee Pot Diner) collect, and explained the situation. Mattz told me to slip him 50 bucks and tell him to give you the load. The broker had his guys load the rig, and away I went back up north. This was Friday a.m. Still no traffic to speak of, but the brokers were all open. Few rigs however and most of them looking for roads to the west. Settling in to the rhythm of the road, got mesmerized by the monotony, and was slipping over the border to South Carolina, and the route was now  old  301….two lanes….headed for North Carolina.

The stench of the paper pulp mills was always an indicator of the fact that you were now in the deep south. I always likened this odor to rotting turnips.

Weighing scales were closed for the weekend so I just barreled along making good time. Stopped for a refuel in Rocky Mount NC,  and really expected scales to be open at Virginia border, but no — all quiet on that front, and I slipped though Wash DC  like nothing else was happening.

But by this time I’d had it. I had to get some sleep, pulled into the first Motel I saw and crashed. Woke up Saturday morning, and cruised into NY City at almost noon, and the place was jumping. I wheeled down down Manhattan to the docks where the big warehouses were seeing a lot of play. I pulled into the large receiving area, and not knowing just where to go I stopped in the middle. The fatigue was coming on me again, and I was just not all that alert. I heard a clang clang noise on the cement apron  where trailer trucks for either parked like jackstraws, or moving out of the region to back uptown behind my truck and I saw this medium sized guy with a Colombo type rain coat on, buttoned up to his neck, and no hat and was  clanging a long steel crow bar on the ground. He saw me in my bright red Ford tractor, apparently looking lost, and he came clanging over to the truck, grabbed hold of my driver’s side mirror and looked around the yard. Many trucks were either backing into unloading docks, or just driving away after being unloaded. He said something to the effect of, “OK, you’re next. See that rig in the 4th ramp? … you’ll go there when he’s thru. But you’ll have to wait until I can get a City man to unload you and they’re all tied up now.”  Now I was dead tired and I really, really wanted to get home, so  in all my naivete, I offered to help. I said, something like, “aw you don’t have to do that, I can unload the truck.” He looked at me like I’d just made a nasty remark about his mother. He said in effect, “Listen you son of a bitch, you touch one box of produce in that truck and we’ll run you and your truck right off the edge of this pier into the river…got that?”

I was shocked. (My first dealing with Union types). So I  recall offering a half hearted  apology, like “well if you feel that way about it, by all means get your City man.”  He said, “You pay up front 50 bucks, and you’ve got him for 8 hours. You can use him any way you need, washing your truck, whatever you need done.” I told him that it wouldn’t be necessary, that as soon as we unloaded I’d be gone. He gave me a little smile and said, “hey, we’re not trying to break ‘em for you but we got our people to take care of here…no hard feelings.”  I recall them directing me to an emptying ramp and I backed down, still a bit shook up, but that truck was unloaded so fast that I could hardly believe it. (I was glad that Jimmy had given me enough money to cover this.)

The rest was anti-climactic, I pulled back out, headed east to CT, and rolled into the area of Union Station in New Haven across from the Coffee Pot, but no one was outside by the phone. I went into the diner and Jimmy and his brother Lenny were sitting there over a cup of coffee, and when Jimmy saw me, he yelled out, “Hey college Boy, c’mere.”  I was dragging my butt by this time. I let all my resentment run out and he just sat there grinning at me. He said, “you did good on making that market kid, you saved me a bundle, no b/s.” I asked him if that included my special bonus for having the s/t scared out of me, and got lucky about the scales. He laughed like hell, and peeled out another 100 bucks and handed it to me, without ever asking for the change from the trip.

There was still almost another hundred left over and he never asked about it.

During the remainder of that year I ran about eight more trips, until one really scared hell out of me, and I always referred to it as the trip down Storm King.  But the one that finally packed it in for me was a trip south, and problems on the way home.

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  1. Great stories, Fran. Thanks.

    Ria, I am so sorry to hear. I will keep your family in my prayers.

  2. Another great one Fran. Keep ’em coming!

    Buenos Dias Cabeza’s!

    Ria – so sorry. Condolences.

  3. Ria sorry to hear, best wishes. Fran thanks for a good tale. It must be the dog days because comments are light for one of our favorite boneheads.

  4. Ria,

    Sorry to hear about your news. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I know what you are going through as Wednesday was the 32nd anniversary of my Mom’s passing.

    I know it may seem cliched, but better days are (and will be) ahead.

  5. Good morning all! Ria, so sorry to hear about your news. My heart is with you.

    fran, heck of a place to leave for commercial again! I hope part 3 comes tomorrow!

  6. So far today this guy I work with has consumed:

    *1 roll with two eggs, bacon and cheese and sausage
    *a massive hero: Italian – extra meat and cheese only

    It’s now 11:20 a.m.

  7. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Ria – my heart goes out to you….. Sorry for your loss…. Someday we will all be together with those that have left us. Death is the cruelest of all ironies…Be strong, as the pain never leaves – it merely fades.

    Fran – great story… I have a friend that negotiated for the teamsters back in the day and he tell stories that gives chills… Those dudes do not play games..

  8. Thanks Latona – One day for lunch he ate the following: 1 king size Snickers, 2 “big grab” bags of munchos and 2 large blue gatorades.

    He often “caves in” to his cravings and eat the sandwiches he brings from home BEFORE 10:30 a.m. (Sandwich = 2 of the largest slices of rye bread i have ever seen, 1 jar of mustard and maybe 1 lb of salami).

    Also he has started getting salads because his fiance was worried about him – he got a salad at Hale n Hearty for $14…I was like that’s a lot of money waht did you put in it? He said – Extra ranch dressing, extra bacon, extra egg, extra chicken, extra croutons………etc…

  9. Oh once he told me that he was eating healthy because he got a Tuna Sub from Blimpie with extra Mayo.

  10. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Manny – sounds like he is warming up for lunch… 3 large cheese pies, 2 giant burgers, several tacos, and a steak….

  11. I believe in the 9 months he has worked here he has gained 40 lbs. He was pretty ripped before

  12. Haha. LW – you have the most impeccable timing as usual. I would intern at Butt-Man for free. They know that based on all the letters I have written them.

    Based on the weight gain by my co-worker he might have a future as a Devils Goalie. He is a Devils fan.

  13. Fran – You’re kidding – a cliff hanger??? You got me hooked…keep going with it.

    Thanks again for writing these – terrific stuff, you should write a book!

  14. bull dog line August 12th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    is Stepan a left wing yet?


    no but Stephan is…

  15. ilb, have a great vacation!
    I’ve been out of work all week, but not for fun. I threw my back out on Monday and of course, my chiropractor is away until next Saturday!

  16. bull dog line on

    now 2 goals in a season. that is big. 2 goals gets you into the plans for first line left wing.

  17. Well, I guess I’m officially on vacation. Tomorrow my father turns 26 (85). Big party at my house. I counted seven young children and 6 dogs. My wife counted adults, I’ll ask her later :-).

    Sunday morning I’m leaving for tennis camp, up in Saugerties for 8 days. Question: when do you think I should start packing? Mrs thinks day before yesterday. I think Sunday early morning. Right after I say: “Good morning, boneheads!” Opinions?

  18. bull dog line on

    can you pass blindly from behind the net? if so, ilb, you too can be a first line left wing candidate.

  19. Lol, bulldog…your love for Avery.

    I can only pass blindly. Because by tge time I finish pivoting, it’ll be deep in intermission

  20. bull dog line on

    I was, of course.
    all seriousness, I would have Dubi in that spot to start, and Wolski as the 2nd line left wing to start. your thoughts.

  21. ilb

    Sunday after you wish us a good morning is a perfect time to pack. I’m like you…i always pack at the last minute! I don’t see why one needs to pack a day or so before the trip? There is the closet and there is the language… it takes me half hour to pack

    have a great vacation!

  22. 8 days in Saugerties? You must really like tennis. We have family friends that live up there. I haven’t been in a couple of years but used to go up there quite a bit growing up. The highlight of the trip was always Dairy Queen.

  23. Saugerties has one of the better tennis camps in the country. I’ve been to many of them and keep coming back. This is my 14th year in a row. It’s called Total Tennis. If anyone is into tennis, I strongly recommend you to try it. It has 20 courts, most are red clay, some hard, two artificial grass. The program is very intense, but they have groups at any level.

  24. yeah bull dog…lighten up and save your energy, dude…

    you will need it in few month to celebrate all the big goals Avery will score for us ;)

  25. CTB- it’s a camp, so everything is included: stay, food etc. I know the area very well (my upstate house is 20-25 min drive from Saugerties), so there are a lot of nice places to go at night if you’re still moving, that is.

  26. CCCP- I’ll tell mrs you agree with me. Besides, what does she care? She isn’t going….As long as take my racquets, I’m good :-)

  27. Hey Sean! I love your blue glasses man. I am going to get a pair just like them. And a flat top. Then I am going to scar my face, wear suspenders and annoy everybody too! Just like you!

  28. Talking to Alex Ovechkin on facebook… i’m 90% sure its the real Ovi… (he talks in Russian to me)

    the guy is a riot! I like him more and more! :P

  29. Good stuff Fran!!!
    is that New York Ranger “star” Sean Avery?

    So I started a 10 day juice fast today…hey what can I say…its the dog day’s of summer…
    and I’m going crazy…check it out on my blog.

  30. LOL! Hey Sean, what’s with the website? And, the weird poses? Will you be “sucker punching” anyone this season? Do you realize that there is an offsides rule in hockey? ;)

    I’m glad Prust is skipping the Stahl wedding. Now, he can focus on important things, like Sam Rosen’s birthday…

    Happy Birthday, Nosen! (just kidding, We all love Sam!)

  31. Happy birthday Sam!

    ilb, if I know you, I think you’ll be packing at least 10 or 12 posts after good morning :) But since mrs. ilb isn’t going, I hope she sleeps in and laughs at you trying to find socks. Lob hard my friend!

  32. Staal: “its just hunger.” LOL! You must have had Prust in your head when you wrote that…stay healthy eh? I’m going to read more later..

    C3, running through walls? You think you’re Prust?

    Thus endeth the Prust references.

    I pack the night before I leave on a trip.

  33. Socks….thanks for reminding me, mama. Can’t play tennis without socks. Sunday morning it is…

  34. Dang me for helping you, you last minute packer! I can only imagine what it will be like in the ilb house before you leave for Israel…..poor mrs. ilb…..:) Gotta run all, TA!

  35. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Ilb – move your feet, watch the ball, turn your shoulder, take the short ball and go to the net….

  36. One day at kindergarten a teacher said to the class of 5-year-olds:
    “I will give $2 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived”.

    An Irish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St.Patrick.”
    The teacher smiled and said, “Sorry Sean, that’s not correct.”

    Then a Scottish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St.Andrew.” But the teacher replied, “So sorry Angus, that’s not right either.”

    Finally, a Jewish boy raised his hand and said, “It was Jesus Christ.”
    And the teacher said, “Absolutely right, Marvin, come up here and take your $2.”

    As the teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said, “You know Marvin, since you’re Jewish, I was very surprised you said Jesus Christ.”

    Marvin replied, “Yeah. In my heart I know it is Moses, but business is business.”

  37. Staal you should have gone with 10 days of bacon juice (1/2 lb of bacon and 1/2 cup of your favorite liquid – water, vodka , whatever into the blender -a dollop of Baconnaise on top – mmmm deelish.)

    still hungry?

  38. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Ilb – to hit a slice, continental grip, bend those knees, carve the ball at about 7 o’ clock, hitting down throughout, moving forward with a nice follow thru..

  39. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    I hit a two handed back hand but I approach off the back hand hitting a slice, and as a change of pace…. I like to hit my slice backhand so the ball barely comes up… Making it a very hard low ball to play…

  40. 4ever – I’m never sure how you interpret my remarks, and as a result how to interpret yours :)
    Easy, like you think I’m mocking you? or (kiddingly) easy like I’m showing off? or just… easy?
    I could understand you thinking I’m being a wise aasen, but in this case just the first combo of greek letters to come to mind prompted by your phi.

    Am I over thinking things – again?! :)

  41. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    Thank you all again for your condolences. The celebration was beautiful my son-in-law would have loved it but than again I want to believe he was with us in spirit today

  42. Something earlier gave me a genuine rush of excitement that hockey was near (I can’t recall what provoked it) but it’s gone now and it sucks.

    Ria – I love the idea of making it a celebration of your son-in-law’s life. I hope you all are doing well.

  43. E^3^ Love ya bro, but you kind of dated yourself with the guest post the other day (great job BTW)
    Now, with the tennis talk, you just have me wondering if this might happen to be you.
    Prust sayin’

  44. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    Thank you dde I think thats the first lol i ‘ve had in days this is one of the reason why I lov this blog not just for the hockey but for the virtual ” friends” i’ve found & the virtual friends my daughter has made on her blog you are all truly amazing people Thank you Carp for keeping this place “alive ” during the off season

  45. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    And Fran i’m waiting with anticipation for part 3 please don’t let us wait to long

  46. Your right Ria, it is an amazing community/family here and it really is a tribute to Carp and the boneheads he attracts. It’s almost a microcosm of society at its best.

    E^3^ I have this picture in my head of you dragging Cheryl Tiegs back to your cave by her hair.

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