Lifelong Friendship

Our grandparents lived next door to each other. Our moms were the same age. During the depression Sam's grandparents had more money than my grandparents. If Sam's grandparents bought something for Sam's mom, they would buy one for my mom too. They said it was so that the girls could play together. I think that is was deeper than that. I believe that it was a genetic goodness. Those genes were passed along to Sam.

Sam was the first friend that I can remember. When we were about 5, Sam's parents moved from next door to about 5 blocks away. He would still have to pass by my house on the way to school and we could walk together from there. Over the years our lives went in different directions, but we were always friends. I got married and had kids. Sam never did. He bought my kids gifts that made a lot of noise.

We both got busy with our lives. I have worked hard to build my business. Looking back, I missed things. When we were in our fifties, my life was going well. Sam was struggling. Then Sam developed skin cancer. I didn't know. Sam was never great about making or returning phone calls. Don't get me wrong. Sam was a great guy. Reaching out was not his strength.

This does tie in to the trucking industry. Skin cancer and other cancers can be more deadly to truckers than most people. We tend to be busy and we tend to be men. That means that we are less likely to see a doctor. If you are a fair skinned man who lives to be at least 65 – you have about a 50% chance of developing some sort of a skin cancer. Some of these can be deadly. Especially if left untreated. If see something unusual, check it out. It is probably nothing. Hopefully, it is.

Truckers tend to think mechanically. I'll put it this way. Prevention is better than repair. Repair is better than break down. If you like to hang your arm out the window, consider wearing long sleeves or sun sunscreen. That trucker tan is not that cool. If you have a pin hole leak in a hose, you get it fixed ASAP! It will lead to a break down if not repaired early. We listen and look for leaks every day. We should give our selves at least as much care.

We get too busy to take care of the really important things. Sam and I did get to watch the Cubs play in a World Series game together with my sister. Then we checked out Sam's TR8 with our friend John. That was great. At the end, I was on a load. I could get to Sam on Friday afternoon. Sam passed away on Thursday.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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