I guess I was about 12 or 13 years old and pumping gas in Bracebridge, Ontario (right across the street from the local Dominion Store) at about 5:30am when I saw this tractor-trailer pull into the store and it was all lit up. The truck and trailer lights were nothing to write home about, but I was mesmerized. After seeing this same truck and driver morning after morning, I finally got up the nerve to ask the driver, Jack Gaddye, from Gravenhurst, Ontario if I could go for a ride with him. He agreed and we went to about a dozen different businesses in Bracebridge delivering LTL. At the time he was driving for Strathdee Transport out of Orillia, Ontario. This kept going on for a few weeks and then one day, after I skipped school, we were at the Canadian Motor Lamp Co. plant in Bracebridge when he asked me if I'd like to try to drive. The plant was at the top of a hill so I thought there'd be nothing to it. We had a 1956 International with an 8-speed Roadranger. I jumped in behind the wheel, just like a kid, of 13, with a new toy. I asked where we were going and he said, "Back into town and don't forget to double clutch!!" I was literally dumbfounded and asked him which one was the clutch. At any rate this escalated over the years and I ended up driving long-haul, TL and LTL, all over North America. Jack showed me things that are not in the "book", like if you are backing into a dock in the winter and the trailer just doesn't want to co-operate to where you want it to, simply locked the trailer brakes and let the tractor slide the trailer sideways until you get into the dock!!
I must have done something right as I've never ever filled out an application for a driving job, but people still keep calling me to ask if I'd like to take a load to Florida or California, etc. Being semi-retired, I've thought long and hard about getting back out there for another 2 or 3 years as it's just something you have a hard time to get out of your system. My mind is quite willing, but my body hasn't agreed to it yet!
In closing, I would just like to thank Jack Gaddye, Walter Milbury, Earl Tennant, Bea Walters, all former employees of Strathdee for the many, many things they all taught me over the years. It's what they taught me and showed me that made me successful in attaining an accident-free career. Bill, even though I don't recall actually meeting you, but I do remember seeing you at Strathdee in Orillia, I would like to thank you for such a wonderful site.
Take care and please keep the "shiny side" up......... Brian McKay.