Friday, July 20, 2007

Nexus

I’ve been covering the trucking industry for, let’s see, right at 20 years. How on God’s green Earth did that happen? Well, I figure a person’s fate is sealed at some point in time and if you think about it, you can figure out where those points connected or where one path became another.

I am pretty sure I can go back to that precise point where I got sucked into this industry and I am going to place that blame squarely on OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

From 1980-1986, I was a small-time news editor for the oldest weekly newspaper in Jackson County, MO, where Missouri politics and high school homecomings were the hot news. An over-the-road trucker from OOIDA used to bring film in for me to develop, as we were the only place in town with a darkroom. I didn’t know Todd then, but I knew his family. His daughters were cheerleaders and football queens and such and I frequently reported on their activities and snapped parade pics of them waving from convertibles.

The film I developed recorded scenes he captured on the road. They were black and white. As I made prints in the darkroom, I studied the shots of snowy highways, old fuel pumps, somebody tarping a load.

Once he came by to get his photos and I asked about them. Blam. That was that point of nexus. It sealed my fate. In October 1987, Todd was off the road and working as the editor of Land Line. The magazine was growing and he needed help. That would be me.

The first couple of years I slaved away in a daze of tag axles and fuel waivers, a lowly reporter in a wildly complex camp. I somehow survived the school of Jim Johnston and Todd Spencer, and since 1990, I’ve been the managing editor of Land Line Magazine.