Saturday, September 29, 2007

Story Time With Uncle Fred

I talked to my brother Fred on the phone last week while I was waiting in the Minneapolis airport for my flight to Portland. He is a truck driver with a limitless supply of stories that come out at the oddest moments, often for the first time years after they actually happened. Like this one:

There was a big construction project going on in Denver and they needed this huge 6-foot pipe, which is no problem to haul. But I was hauling two pipe elbows from Salt Lake to Denver, and they were kind of side by side, so I had a wide load, which was no problem out in the wide-open areas, but getting into Denver there’s all this rigamarole you have to go through with a wide load.

Well, I had this 20-year-old map of Colorado that showed all the gravel roads down to little goat trails, and also I used to harvest wheat in that area years ago, so I was kind of familiar with the area. So I decided to drive into Denver the back way, at night, and if I did it right I could get right up to the construction site without hitting any main roads.

Oh, yeah, and this was about two months after 9-11.

So I’m going along this gravel road and I noticed something odd, and that was that there was grass growing in the road. Well, that’s strange. But I kept going, and then after a while here was a chain-link fence across the road in front of me. So I stopped of course.

About that time there were these incredibly bright lights to my left, up a ways, and I realized that that was a runway up ahead, and a plane was about to land right in front of me. And those landing lights are bright, I mean, you could read a newspaper 20 miles away, just about.

So I cut the lights on the truck and decided to watch the plane land, but all of a sudden it wasn’t there any more. I mean, it was just gone, no lights, nothing. And after a few minutes I saw what must have been the same plane land on this other runway about five miles away.

Oh well, ok, whatever. There was pasture all around me so I got the truck turned around and headed back. And after about a mile the vehicles started appearing and I had cop cars all around me.

It didn’t take them too long to figure out that I was exactly what I appeared to be—a dumb Oklahoma truck driver with a 20-year-old map trying to sneak into Denver at night with a wide load, who didn’t realize they’d built the Denver airport in the meantime.

So they were like, Just leave. Just get out of here.

So I did.

Quote of the Day:
"You should be the one with a blog or a newspaper column. I mean, stuff actually happens to you!"
--me, to Fred


  1. I think it has to do with being an Okie, actually!

  2. !Oh my stars! That probably caused some excitement among the cops!!! :) They maybe thought that binladen was at it again!!

  3. Amazingness and scariness! But actually quite interesting . . .

  4. There it was...bottom of page C4 of the West Central Tribune, Willmar, MN - a book summary of "Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting". It reads as follows:

    Dorcas Smucker's collection of short essays are written in her "mother voice" and draw inspiration and wisdom from her life with a husband and six kids. She is a Minnesota native who grew up in Grove City and now lives in a 95-year-old farmhouse in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

    She covers topics and dilemmas everyone can relate to. Some of the essays are from her column, "Letter from Harrisburg," that she writes for the Eugene, Ore. "Register-Guard." This is her second book. The first was "Ordinary Days." Both are subtitled "Family Life in a Farmhouse."
    $9.95, published by

  5. thank you for the tearjearking laughter you provided. i could just hear fred telling the story, and thought how much the readers miss, not knowing his intonations to the whole thing. ah yes, these yoder boys get into the most unusual circumstances much to the amusement of their wives!
    -one of those wives

  6. made me laugh=) and miss Uncle Fred!

  7. That's the funniest thing I've read in a while!