Pete’s Blog&Grille: The Go-To Trucker for C&W Music
Elwin Shaw, aged 70-something, runs Shaw Farm Supply in the Northern Ontario town of Mindemoya, which is smack in the middle of Manitoulin Island, in the northern waters of Lake Huron.
In addition to the farm-supply enterprise, Shaw has a couple of other passions; specifically, his specialized trucking business and country&western music.
Shaw is such a walking C&W wikipedia that a few years back, Mike “Big Mike” Abel, the program director of the local FM station (100.7 theislandfm) asked Shaw if he’d share his knowledge with the station’s audience.
Despite having zero on-air experience, Shaw agreed and these days, every Wednesday, he and Big Mike share a mic, in a show called Elwin’s Honey Wagon.
And now you know what kind of trucking Elwin Shaw does. (Pumping out septic systems of a community is a great way to really find out what’s going on, he says. You’re privy to a lot of inside info. Get it? Bathrooms? Privy?)
Anyway, Radio Station 100.7 also operates the six-year-old Manitoulin Country Music Festival, and this year, headliners included the delightful Teri Clark, Grand Prairie’s Emerson Drive and, from Nova Scotia, George Canyon as well as the Rankin family. (It’s pretty much a Canadian dream-team.)
The thing is, in addition to piloting the honey wagon, Elwin Shaw rents out portapotties, and because he has friends in places, he is — naturally — the go-to portapottie supplier for the Manitoulin music festival.
And he takes as much pride in his portapotties as he does in his music.
This is what he told me: ‘I’m not naming names, but you know these singers do a lot of traveling, to festivals all over the country. Several of them told me that out of all the places they visited, my portapotties were the cleanest and most comfortable.”
That’s quite the endorsement.
And he’s not just blowin’ smoke.
Like every other technology, the art and science of the portapottie have come a long way and if you haven’t been in a new one recently, you owe yourself a visit.
They’re more comfortable, the edges of the seats are contoured, and some have running water and electric lights and/or skylights. Elwin tells me that some of the Cadillac versions have marble-like counter tops and if they’re kept clean throughout their tour of duty (he leaves attendants on site to keep them spiffy) the portapotties will even smell pretty.
Elwin uses a special substance that makes the air in his portapotties smell like bubble gum. Talking about the things with him almost makes me want to go.
Before I do go though, I must tell you why meeting Elwin Shaw comes as such great news to me.
First of all, I’m extremely fond of Manitoulin Island and I love country music.
Second, I’m constantly on the prowl for story ideas. The Elwin Shaw story pretty much writes itself. Watch for it with photos in an upcoming issue of Today’s Trucking.
Third, I’ve enlisted Elwin’s contribution to our ever-expanding 50-Best–Trucking-Songs-of-all-time project. He’s on the case and promises to report back soon.
Finally, I’m in the magazine business. I want people to read more magazines. I think reading magazines is the key to happiness and an integral ingredient in the recipe for human advancement.
Where else do people learn how to bake better pies; pack more effective shotgun shells or get the most out of their two-hour workout? Where else but in special-interest magazines do readers advance their own games, whether you’re talking Canadian Home Workshop helping your son use the right saw blade or Today’s Trucking apprising you of the latest emission-control rules?
It is my personal mission, therefore, to encourage the consumption of magazines.
And where do magazines get read?
Desks. Cottages. Airplane seats. Waiting rooms. Restaurants when you’re eating by yourself. Staff lunchrooms. Grocery-store lineups. Waiting at a loading-dock. Or at the border.
And last but least least — and in a paragraph all its own — there’s The John.
I could show you research proving just how much magazine reading gets done in the john, but let me sum it up thusly: The day people no longer use the bathroom will be a sad day for the magazine business.
So if the portapottie manufacturers of the world see fit to make their little buildings so comfy you’ll stay and finish an entire article, they should be encouraged.
I think Nobel should introduce a whole new category of prize for improved bathroom-literacy. (Nobel Pees-prize anyone?)
My point: Whatever people do to make magazine-reading places better lit or more comfortable, I’m for. Bring on the air-conditioned with piped-in-country-music portapottie!
Only good will come out of it.