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Frugal Living
by Donna Flood
Dump Truck Blues


Vana was, without doubt, a woman to be admired. It was true she was divorced with two children. Having come from a hard working successful family one would believe she could have made things easy on herself, by simply accepted their charitable ways. The thought never crossed her mind. She was insistent that she could and would most certainly provide for herself and for her children. Although, there were the hard first years when she was trying to take a stand as to how she was going to provide this didn't last for long. She seemed to slowly gravitate to one situation after another in her need to put food on the table. The young mother worked in rest homes. There was a gas station she operated for a time, that is until she was hit in the head with a "billy club," while she was making the night deposit. For a while she had an answering service. Once she worked for a friend who was a builder. She painted and cleaned houses for him.

All the while Vana worked she did so with no complaints while managing her money very closely and enjoying her lot in life with laughter, sometimes screaming laughter as to the hilarity of a certain happening. Probably the most unbelievable thing happened while she was delivering a load of asphalt to an adjoining town.

The day had started out with no consequences and Vana laughed and talked with the men drivers, of the trucks where she was working . She always kept a light line of chatter going and the men were accepting of their woman co-worker, although; it was at a time when women were not into this sort of thing. The men were about their business of checking their trucks, some of which were not the newest vehicles on the road. They lined up to have their trucks loaded with the asphalt material for road repairs.

"Say Vana! where is your delivery going today?" One of the men called out to her as they were waiting.

"I don't know, haven't looked at the orders yet," she yelled back. If there was a question of her not being a lady it was never mentioned. She was a clean good looking woman who was always happy, laughing and joking as she went about her work. Her blond good looks she toned down with dressing in the same garb as the men. If she made mistakes she always was good natured about her being the first to laugh at her own error. She asked for no special treatment because she was a woman. The men knew she had a family and seemed to respect her willingness to work.

"Do you think you could take a load over to Blackwell today?"

Vana was quick in trying to get along with her co-workers, "why sure, if you need me too," she was agreeable.

"Well, as a matter of fact, my wife wants me home early today. If I go over there I won't get back as soon," the man explained.

"Sure. Be glad to," she responded with no hesitation.

Vana was now on her way toward the adjoining small town. The big dump truck lumbered along in a definite way. It was a very large thing compared to the small little woman driving it. The skies were an Oklahoma blue, the weather was excellent, there was no traffic on the out of the way back road and she was at one with the world, her job, and life in general. She bounced along on the heavy springs seat supporting her light body but, this was no problem for her at the moment. Silently, she was congratulating herself that this was way far better than "pushing bed pans" at the local rest home. Occasionally, a farmer in his small truck by comparison would pass her on the road and do a double take to see the little blond woman at the wheel of the lumbering load of asphalt and her dump truck. There was the friendly good natured grin and a wave of his hand which was just another pleasantry for the woman.

Off to her right she observed the waving green wheat and was always marveling at the many shades of green running through it going from dark emerald to almost black in some places where there was shade. At a distance under a shaft of light out of the sky would be a bright yellow green to drift slowly to a more blue green.

The clean neat well cared for farms were resting at ease with a lazy moment before being over taken by the busy harvest season. It was true they were simply property and holdings but, somehow, the little farms looked to have a personality about them. Some were older telling of generations of families who had lived there. Others were new, polished, shored up with strong straight lines in their newer brick houses and modern looking new style cylinder barns. The newer farms were rich looking but lacked the wealth of full grown cedar windbreaks the older farms had.

Maybe these visual pleasure to have held Vana was part of her undoing. All at once the unfamiliar road called her to attention. Her truck bounced hard on the old railroad tracks she was crossing. The bouncing, caught her at a surprise and probably, the jolt caused the bed in the huge old truck to flip up. Of course, with the flipping up of the bed all the asphalt spilled out on to the railroad track.

Vana had lost her moment of tranquil paradise. She was beside herself. Nothing to do but to walk back to the closest farm house to call the company.

When her boss answered she started crying. She was crying deep sobbing wails. All her confidence, decorum and assurance was gone with the asphalt laying across the railroad tracks while her truck was still there too.

"Vana! Vana! Vana! What? What is it? Stop! Stop crying. Stop now! What is it? Have you wrecked the truck?" this was probably, a brand new incident for the owner. One of his drivers was in trouble, but the driver was a screaming, bawling, frantic, woman girl who couldn't stop crying long enough to tell him what was the problem.

Vana sobbed, "I've dumped a whole load of asphalt on the railroad track!"

"Oh for Pete's sake," the owner was relieved, "I thought you had a wreck or even worse had killed someone."

Of course, with the way of men, the moving of the asphalt with dozers was no problem for the owner. As soon as he was able to get through to the biggest problem, Vana's hysteria, he was able to reassure her things were going to be all right.

The incident was told and retold with the men enjoying the woman's hysteria to the maximum. Vana became a true veteran that day and without question, she had been baptized into the ranks.

Her good natured ways took the men's ribbing and she was no longer "that woman truck driver," but she was now an accepted partner into their world of unexpected calamities.


 

 


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