Lord of the Flies
Back in 1958, I was hauling premium general freight to the western part of Canada. To get a fast turnaround, we would haul anything we could get our hands on going back east, including hides from the slaughterhouses.
Normally, the hides would be picked up in a folded, salted and dry state, but in order to meet a tight deadline, this time the hides were loaded “green,” which means they came off the animals’ backs and were directly loaded, still draining slop and blood.
It was in the middle of August and the temperature on the prairies was in the 90s. The load had to be loaded for axle weight for the United States, but we had no sliding axles at that time, so it had to be done by hand, then run over a scale until it came out correct.
About four hours down the line, I saw a car behind me running his windshield wipers, yet there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Curious and suspecting the worst, I pulled over. Sure enough, blood and liquid were pouring out of the back doors. To make matters worse, the mess attracted a million horse flies. I ran for my life and jumped back into the cab.
We crossed over to the U.S. at Noyes, MN and pulled up next to the scale shack, where it showed we were 2,000 pounds heavy on the front axle as a herd of horse flies caught up to the load. With flies everywhere, the guy in the shack opened his window and said he would give us a break if we could move the freight back to a legal position…as fast as possible.
Knowing the load was real greasy and slippery, I drove like hell in reverse and slammed on the brakes. After repeating the process three times, I was almost legal. The scale man sent us on our way, saying he would look forward to any excuse to throw us in jail the next time we came his way. So away we went, followed by the biggest herd of flies I have ever seen.
I don’t know whether to laugh or ralph. Maybe I’ll just do both and kill two birds at once.
It’s lunchtime, but I’ve suddenly lost my appetite, thanks to this picture I’ve got stuck in my head of those bloody, sloppy horsehides sloshing around in your trailer with a million horse flies in hot pursuit. Yuck!
I’ve got to hand it to you. Your solution for repositioning the load was pure genius. Your story reminds me of how much the trucking industry has changed over the last 50 years. Given the current nervousness over homeland security, if you had shown up at the border today with blood pouring out of your trailer, they’d probably throw you in jail first and then start figuring out a way to get rid of all those flies.
Murphy and Lucky Dog