Saturday, October 04, 2008

Breaker, Breaker 19

Reading through the blogs on my "Reader list" this morning, I learned today is a really important day -a "celebration day" of sorts -or at least, for a lot of years of my life, it sure would have been a special day. The Curmudgeon over at Second Effort says in his posts today that today is CB Day and because he requested any of us with an affiliation with those good old CB radios remember this day and preferably too, that we post about that as well.

And ya'll know I follow orders fairly decently, so here's my post about the "good old days" of being a CB-er.

Back in the mid-70's my ex-husband was the one in the family, initially, to get a CB radio. I don't remember exactly now what his logic was that compelled him to absolutely HAVE TO HAVE a CB radio, but whatever it was, he got one, hooked it up in his work truck. Then I realized some friends of ours had CB radios too and it began to entice me so I had to get one for the car we had then.

About that same time, I was also working as a waitress at the nearby truckstop, and because I was learning the nicknames of a lot of the drivers who came through the establishment, I found it fun to listen to them chatter on the airwaves -especially when I heard this or that driver that I knew, whose voice I recognized, etc.

Yes, there were times when having a CB gave a little bit of warning about a speedtrap in effect -things like that, but more often my radio really came in handy for me to alert me to traffic accidents or for use in other emergency type situations.

How so, you ask? Well, one of the first times that comes to my mind where my CB really came in handy was one morning in the winter of 1977, when I was enroute to work at Penn State University. My two younger children were in the car with me and I had a young lady from our church riding to and from the University with me several days a week as she was then a student there. I had pulled in the lane to her house and when I drove the car to a pull-off area in front of their barn, I hit a small patch of ice which caused the car to slide a bit and presto-magic, I was stuck!

How to get out of this predicament though? I had nothing in the car with me -like a shovel or rock salt (yeah, really totally unprepared in those days I was) plus the car was a big old Impala too. The kids were small; Mandy was just a baby, about a year old and Clate was around 3 1/2 years old -not exactly ages where they would be helpful. There was no one in Tina's family (the girl I was picking up) who could help me either and since my ex had already gone to work, no way for me to contact him.

Then I happened to see a car coming down the road I'd just turned off and recognized it as belonging to a friend of ours, on his way to work and I knew he and his wife, like me, had a CB so I broke for him on the radio and got an immediate response from "Speedy." I told him where I was and the circumstances and in about 30 seconds time, he was there on the lane to come to my rescue. Now Speedy is not really a big guy in physical build but boy, he sure did have, at that time, a lot of strength in his upper body muscles. The problem with my car was that the place I had pulled into was a slight ramp and when the car hit the icy patch, the left front wheel had ended up just sort of hanging over the edge of this ramp thing and Speedy got under the car and pushed it -yes, pushed this big old Impala all by himself -back up onto the parking area there! Rescued me and the kids, big time and I wasn't even late to work that day! Chalk one up to the benefits of having a CB radio.

Another time, was when I was working about 14 miles from here at yet another truckstop, on the midnight shift, and on the way home from work one morning, as I turned down the road to the village here, all of a sudden my car just stopped running, completely dead in the water, ya know. Once again, my trusty CB came to my aid as I heard the familiar voice of a local coal bucket trucker, good old "Blue Sox" on the radio and I broke for him. Told him my plight and asked him to call in for a tow truck for me. He did that, the tow truck came and hauled my little buggy off to be fixed as the timing chain (or belt -whatever) had broken on it. Chalk up #2 on the rescue list.

There were other times when the CB came in very handy to me. Different occasions when I was on my way to work in the dead of winter and the road conditions weren't always very good so having the CB in my car came in handy as different drivers I knew would alert me to a vehicle in the ditch, an accident, an icy spot, heavy fog -you name it, they let me know about it.

The CB also came in handy to keep me awake many times while the kids and I might be out and about on a "road trip" -aka, vacation -and ya know how driving for a couple hours straight can often make you pretty tired, drowsy, down right sleepy, well, having that CB and finding a friendly trucker, often a driver I knew from work, and going "off-channel" (away from Channel 19 or "Sesame Street, as it was often called) to chat helped to keep me awake and getting me to our destination okay then too.

It also provided a form of entertainment in other ways too at times. Lots and lots of practical jokes came about over the years I waitressed thanks to having that trusty CB radio with me at all times. Because I was notorious back then for kind of being a bit of a receptacle for good jokes -the truckers who knew me back then, if they heard a new joke someplace, usually when they came into the restaurant they would track me down to share it with me and I had a good memory back then for remembering these things too and would pass them along to the next group of drivers I waited on.

Well, one day, I was on my way over to Clearfield, driving on I-80, and this coal bucket passed me. I recognized the truck immediately as belonging to my "good buddy, Blue Sox" and broke for him. Because he has a great sense of humor -loves a good joke he does -and I had earlier that day just heard a really good joke but one that was pretty off-color too -but was a joke I just knew old "Sox" would like, I asked him to pull over on the berm. I didn't tell him I had a joke for him so he pulled over, thinking I was having some kind of car problems and came running back to my car and asked me what was wrong.

"Nothing's wrong," I said. "I just had this really great joke I heard today and couldn't tell it over the CB to you!" We still laugh about that today when we run into each other from time to time, how I pulled him over just to tell him a dirty joke!

Today though, my CB sits in the basement, unused. My son-in-law took it out of the car I had a couple years ago -for what reason I don't recall now -and never reinstalled it for me.

There are times when I wish I still had it in my vehicle but I doubt it would be as much fun for me these days since most likely all the truckers I knew and was friends with are retired. Besides, I don't go out that often, and I rarely make any long-type trips now either.

But for well over 25 years, I ran a CB in my car and was known on the airwaves in this vicinity as "Avon Lady." And yes, there were times when someone who didn't actually know me, would make some off-the-wall comments about the CB handle I had chosen too but for me, it was appropriate because for over 18 years, I was The Avon Lady in these hills here!

Now, I'm going 10-33 or is it 10-36? Been so many years I've forgotten some of the code there but one of those calls means and accident and the other means taking a break, leaving the vehicle. Whichever it is, I'm leaving the computer for a while now!

Have a great day!


Smalltown RN said...

oh how much fun is that...I never had a CB radio but I have known people who have....I know with the cell phones you don't see much use for the know the other day I saw a trucker on a cell phone turning his big rig...yup times they are a changing....thanks for sharing your stories....

terri said...

I thought signing off was "10-4." Seems to me the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" was where I heard, "10-4, Good Buddy!"

dr sardonicus said...

So you're a CB woman from way back. Doesn't surprise me at all.

Jeni said...

Actually, "10-4" really just means the same as saying "Roger" -indicates you heard what was said and depending on the conversation, it can also indicate you are agreeing with the other person's comments too.

Paula said...

Oh, doesn't that bring back memories! My dad had a CB hooked up in our kitchen and belonged to some type of a CB club. We all had "handles" and would get to talk on it now and again. I was known as "Lil' Jinx" after a comic book character. Fun stuff!

Linda said...

We aren't allowed to say "10-4" on the radio at work, my boss hates it! Instead we have to say "received" and that was quite the task for me after being a 10-4'ing police dispatcher for way too many years!

Singing Owl said...

I can just SEE you, the waitress with the CB! This post made me grin. You need to post a nice close up pic or yourself, J. :-)