Truck Driving Memories from Red Wing
by Jan AKA Red Wing
(New York state,USA)
My first years in a truck were in a six wheeler, trucking livestock. I ran up and down the interstate some of the time. From small farms up in the hills, to the Livestock Sales, to the Cattle Shows, to the harsh reality of the Slaughterhouses....a necessary evil.
I learned you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their animals.
I got to know the buyers who populated the weekly livestock sales... watched them as they challenged the auctioneer, trying to manipulate the prices they paid for the cattle in the sawdust ring before them.
Back in those days, the smoke from their cigars was all part of the scenario. German was spoken by many of them. The song of the auctioneer was always music for me.
A few years ago, I pulled into the empty parking lot of what had been a weekly livestock auction. Every Thursday, the parking lot had been filled faithfully by the buyers, sellers, farmers,and on-lookers. I had been among their ranks for many years.
But this day there were only memories to meet me as I peered in the half-open door. The sale barns had been sold, and were scheduled for demolition in the near-future.
I entered the dim interior and slowly climbed the steps where the seats encircled the sawdust ring. The auctioneer's empty box was there. And the scales! They were still there, after all those years! I wondered how many animals had crossed them!!
As I stood there, I heard in my mind once again, the auctioneer as he sat in the seat above the ring..." This cow is a good one, boys! What are you going to give me for her? " And the song would begin, with the buyers haggling over the price.....the bantering between them and the auctioneer, as old as time itself.
I looked at the now-empty seats...I could remember exactly where I used to sit at the end of the row of buyers, as I waited for my load. Many of them are long since gone now....fading into the mists of time.
I walked slowly out through where the empty pens echoed with the calls of the cows and calves, now long since silenced, and thought of the people who had worked there, were there every week, and whose faces I always welcomed.
With the years, had come many changes for me, and I now lived two hours from there, far up in the northern reaches of the state. But the memories there were as sharp and clear as if I had been there the day before.
Slowly I walked through memories of my past life. One of the few women who trucked livestock, no one ever forgot my name!