Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nor Dark Of Night

I’ve mentioned before that I used to haul mail between my hometown and Pittsburgh for a contractor. Going up in the afternoon, things were pretty boring. I had a four-hour layover up there and spent some of it talking with the guys on the docks there at the airport. You have to find your own entertainment on some jobs. One of my tricks was to look at the parcels that accumulated for me, as one plane after another came in, and see where they had come from and where they were going. A lot of city names in this country are copies of famous places in Europe—Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Birmingham, etc. I suppose those places were once the homes of the original settlers to those sections of the new world. Some place names in the British Isles seemed funny to my American mind. One in Scotland was down-right profane by our standards, though I won’t mention it here. I’m sort of glad no-one named any towns here like that!

Another angle was seeing just what sort live critters that I carried. Bait was a common thing. I’ve hauled crickets, grasshoppers, night crawlers, red worms, meal worms, frogs and probably other things that I don’t remember. Obviously, most were going to places that catered to outdoorsmen.

A rather macabre discovery was the number of parcels shipped from one hospital to another with labels saying that they contained body parts. Since they were being hauled by truck, rather than being picked up by worried-looking hospital personnel, I suspected that they were being sent to teaching hospitals for dissection or examination.

A more enjoyable job was hauling the young critters headed for farms around the area. I’ve hauled a few rabbits, guinea chicks, goslings and ducklings and many regular chicks. Most nights, they could ride in the box (back of the truck) with the rest of the mail. Severely cold nights, I’d haul them in the cab with me. Back then security wasn’t so tight, and my wife would ride with me sometimes on Friday nights. One very cold spring night, we shared the cab with a stack of boxes holding about 200 baby chicks. As we tooled along smooth pavement, the chicks would go to sleep. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bumps and holes to be hit in 3-1/2 hours of driving. At every serious jolt, the boxes would come alive with the startled peeps of a couple hundred balls of fluff. We got many a good laugh on the trip home. It was one of those simple experiences that still remain in our memories these thirty years later. © 2013


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Awwww, what a cute story. It must have gotten sort of loud with all those chicks peeping at once.

Gorges Smythe said...

Only for about 30 seconds at a time, Kathy. Things quieted down quickly in the darkness.

JaneofVirginia said...

It's really an important job to get all those packages where they need to be going. Thank you for sharing.
Agree with you about those British and Scottish place names !

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Great account!

Linda said...

What a great story, Gorges! Thank you so much for sharing. I absolutely love the sound of crickets, I find it soothing.

Chickenmom said...

Your kindness probably saved many, many chicks! Thank you.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

HermitJim said...

I think that it's pretty cool that you could share the warmth of your cab with the little critters! Bet they appreciated it as well!

Gorges Smythe said...

Well, I did my part, Jane!

Thanks, Jerry.

Thanks, Linda.

I don't know how many were saved, Phyllis, but we sure got some laughs from the experience.

I hope so, Jim.