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Pete’s Bar&Grille: And We’re Off To The Rodeo

It was an unrepeatable glorious moment.

Driving north on Highway 11 with Helena, my wife of 27 years and 11 months, from Toronto to Notre Dame Du Nord.

It was sunny; my Malibu was purring, traffic was light and the music –- which I’ll explain a bit more about in a minute--was delivering a Hollywood-perfect soundtrack to our big long weekend adventure.

The adventure? Our first time to Rodeo Du Camion. We were going to watch the trucks race up the hill! In Quebec! There’d be crowds of beer-drinking partying French folks! I was pumped.

And thinking: “Helena hasn’t the foggiest idea what she’s in for.”  

Also, “It can’t get any better’n this.”

But then it did.

Way better.

At this point, I should mention that there’ve been a few things about being married to Peter that might have tested Helena’s patience.  

Among them, the fact that I like country music. A lot. And this particular drive wasn’t just testing her patience, it was putting it on a stretcher and making it yell for mercy. Because what we were listening to was a CD  that came in the mail by surprise a day earlier.  

My friend Elwin Shaw—of Shaw’s Septic Service in Mindemoya, ON and loyal reader of Today’s Trucking--has a regular radio show on the Manitoulin Island radio station 100.7 FM.

This past Canada Day, Elwin, along with station honcho Mike Abel and Elwin’s 20-year-old grandson Patrick—had dedicated a special show to truckers, and that’s what we were listening to.

As Elwin said at the opening of the show;  “This tribute is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Pay tribute to some of the boys who haul goods in this country and worldwide.”

Added grandson Patrick: “Our first song goes out to the innumerable truckers who risk their lives to get the job done.”

And the music started. Trucker song after glorious trucker song.

Helena would have been within her rights to, say, get out and hitchhike, or leastways say something sarcastic but she didn’t.  She just kept pretending to read the newspaper.

But about 30 seconds into “Bud The Spud”, she leaned over and turned up the volume a little bit. Time has, I thought, taken its toll.

A few songs in—past Convoy” and Give Me 40 Acres” the entertainment hit new heights. Rather depths.

Patrick Shaw introduced a piece I’d never heard before, by saying “there’s no songs about honey wagons, so this one will have to do.” And out came “Septic Tank Man.

Helena’s first response: “Does the brow go any lower than this?”

But her second? Laughter. How could it be anything but?

Call your septic tank man

Call your septic tank man

When it’s all backed up and you can’t use the can

Call your septic tank man.”

It was magical.

The forthcoming Rodeo du Camion could only be the icing on this cultural coup.

But still, I sensed it was almost time to relent and tune in a bit of jazz or classical music, just because.

Then, as the show was ending—after “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” (one of the best trucking songs ever)—Elwin took my “can’t get any better’n this” and whacked it clean out of the park.

Elwin started into heartfelt thanks to truckers around the world, for their  “valuable, honest reliable service, advice and friendship.”

I knew Helena was at the “laying-it-on-a-bit-too-thick” stage… and then…and then..  he added, “to the rest of the people I know that help on a daily basis, keeping us informed about trucking, Mr. Peter Carter and his staff at Today’s Trucking magazine; a heartfelt thanks.”

It came as a complete surprise. I laughed and grinned. Mentally high-fived myself! Very nice move Elwin!

What a great way to kick off our trip to the Rodeo.

I was really touched. 

And I’m pretty sure Helena’s convinced that both I and my buddy Elwin are, too. Touched, that is.

Which is why we get along so well.

 Stay tuned for a complete rodeo report next week! Yee-haw.



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