Mama Cave Bear

A voice yells out “C’mon get in here, three minutes to American Idol” and the guy is thinking “shoot me, shoot me, take me out in a field like an old dog and put one between my ears.”  She often has scared me in this very manner. For instance, in the past, she has said “she always wanted a big Prevo with LOTS OF STAINLESS STEEL” which we all know, takes a mountain of elbow grease just to keep up.  Having observed her services or help at maintenance on a Koi Pond one long hot summer, I thank God for my dull, clean, low-maint Eagle 10-S.

My wife amazes me,  She can never understand why it takes so long to get from point A to point B, will offer up the Atlas and say, “Look it is only this far on the map” pointing to three or four inches.  But then again, the male by the same standard is most likely the only person on the face of the planet that can relate to “one inch equals a mile” and actually get away with it.   Every now and then she will make a sojourn into MY world, entering the shop like a seasoned Drill Sargent from Ft. Polk Louisiana, she will walk one end of my shop to the other.

With the eye of an Eagle and precision migratory homing skills, she dissects the shop.  Pointing out obvious discrepancies, “Is this new?” … “Where did that come from?” … Is this bus stuff?”  I just mutter “Naw that is old stuff, I dunno, uh chrome shop” as I consider dropping to the floor and pretending to be dead.  The interrogation continues and I preserve, all the while desperately hugging my Krispy Kreme Donut box secretly filled with LED lights.  At sixty-three years of age I have become a smuggler in my own country, such a sad lot in life, especially for a veteran.

Here it is in a nutshell.  You see, a major bus improvement to a woman is nothing, to her it is “new counter tops in the kitchen” … “a bathroom remodel in the guest room.”  It is never necessary by any stretch of the imagination.

So the saga continues … Testosterone is what I am after.  Ice Road Truckers, American Loggers, NASCAR, I want to implode something in Minneapolis or some other place back east.  I don’t want to listen to Paula Deen explain how she found this old dead armadillo on the highway, and soaked it in a secret sauce for the last nine hours, and when we’re done girls “it will taste just like chicken!”  I don’t want to have to sit thru this “punk rocker” looking guy, who cooks just about anything on the planet and talks kind of strange.

When was the last time you heard anyone, male or female, for that matter say something like:  “I just love the rich hearty beefy flavor.”  or “Today we are going to deliver a juicy turkey, and savory dressing, and you will get a spicy crantastic WOW from my sauce.”  Face it, people just don’t talk that way in America.  Give me a break.  Sinking into my chair, I suddenly feel lost.  I want to polish my chrome, she wants me to sit with her and watch “Secrets of The Turkey Hotline on the Food Channel.”   Life is often so unfair.

I do my best to fool her into thinking I am interested, but I am far, far away.  Hard to fool bus people, the reason I say this, is because I know … we is different.  Take our buses for example, relics of a time now long past, resurrected to a new life.  Proud people movers of the 19th century, the fifties, given a totally new lease on life.  The proverbial Phoenix in some instances, rising from the fire and the ashes of man.

Another phenomenon that the general public at large does not understand is our apparent love affair with these beasts of the highway.  Bus men form a close personal relationship with their coach, they fawn over it, they brush it, they stroke it, feed it, maintain it, they have the most fun you can have in this world with your clothes on.  At the same time their respective mates, try and pretend that they hardly even notice.  But they do, trust me, more so than you could possibly imagine.

Bus Men also take a great deal of pride in their accomplishments, like a barnyard cock, they strut around the bus, they notice ever ding, every dent, pulling a rag from in their pocket, they knock off the unwanted and unwashed.  Pride in Ownership, a star of the American Highway is what they aspire to someday be.  For the most part, I am the same way, the very same way.

Now I refer to it as my hobby, “Daddy’s Hobby,” but others have called it an obsession.  I certainly do not qualify to assume the rank of Certified Bus Nut or Qualified Bus Lover, but there are people with whom I come in contact with lately, that are clearly over the edge.  Stainless Steel Fever has hit with a vengeance on some of these folks, they are carrying a new strain of The Ebola She Don’t Wanna Turn Ovah Virus of which I am sure there is no known cure.  I personally can attest to one bus nut who has a tattoo of his bus on his forearm.

Some of us want to be the Alpha Dog in the pack, and some of us, just want to sit around the truck-rim-campfire and tell a good yarn.  Like the highway magicians we seem to be, we catalog every two lane in America, bad grade, truck-stop and campground known to man.  We do it in the wee hours of the morning, with the smoke waifing in our eyes, and the truth far from our lips.  We are the new Flyin’ Dutchman of our culture, the vagabond souls who roam the highways and bi-ways late at night.  And on some occasion we are allowed by our mate to actually show off our work, our obsession, our never ending love affair with the grease rag and bottle of tire shine.

But with all things, male and female, there are trade offs.  Here is the problem, another bus lover comes over, he admires my coach, we start to bond, and things go swimmingly well.  With all good experiences in life, there is give and there is taking, relationships form, things previously not known are now known.  It is called The Rumsfield Principle I believe, “we have known knowns and we have unknown knowns, and there are the unknown knowns that are still not known at this time.” And as long as all this male bonding stays on the exterior of the coach or in the storage bays located along each side of the bus, all is well.  But the minute I open the door and offer a “stranger” as she refers to them access to HER coach, I am in hot water.

Daddy's hobby 3

Like a Mama Grizzly Bear protective of her new cubs, I am put on warning.

Believe it or not, I had an old man at Camping World who just insisted on seeing “the inside of yore rig” as he put it, so I opened up the door.  There sat my bride at the table, playing a game of solitaire, a game she devotes hours to, and I told the old man, “Step up there pard, and check it out.”   Then I got the look, you know what I am talking about here, “the” look. (Sort of like being THE only male standing in Victoria’s Secret store on Wednesday morning at the mall …. The old what is HE doing in HERE kind of look ….  But I am not afraid (a little concerned maybe) and I show the coach to the old timer.)  I know that there will be a price to pay, but dog-gone it, I am gonna go for it.  You only go round once in life and I am closer to the end that the start, so I take the shot.

Later on, after-wards, “the discussion will begin,” the look will be replaced with the finger, which she deftly points at me, and when the discussion is particularly heated, the finger starts moving slowly at first, from side to side, the finger will emphasize by moving rapidly from side to side in order to clarify.  Often this is followed by lift off!  (providing all launch code provisions have been met and adhered to)

I just hate that when it happens.

Ceste Le Vive which is French for “that is life,” south of the border it translates La Vita Loca, “this crazy life.”  Thus ends today’s tale of woe, it is often, “not easy to be me.’  A tough grueling act, a middle-aged clown with several balls in the air at any given time working on a need to know basis.

A tough job but what the hey …. Someone has to do it.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to find a spot at the back of the lot and see if I can pull up some local channels and Ophra this afternoon.  She is supposed to have this six foot four-inch Georgia Lumberjack weighing in at 245lbs., who drives a 45 ft Prevo straight outta Marathon.  His main complaint (from what I can tell from the teasers) seems to be, he cannot figure out a way to keep his four foot seven inch wife from beating him up.

I don’t want to miss that, no sir, I want to see this one for sure.  Might even be some good ol’ down south finger wiggling in there too.

See you in the fast lane …


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