The Long Line of Yellow Cones – A Story of Brothers

Several, probably many, year ago a truck driver friend told me this story for the truth.

My friend -Bob- was driving processed chickens from Broken Bow, OK, just east of here, out to California markets. Interstate 40 from Oklahoma City west is an interesting drive 4-5 times but by the twentieth or so it is a mind numbing type of boring.

Bob bored his truck through a lot of long boring nights. The radios voices droning, the road thumping beneath the cab and that long unbroken line down the center of the road created their own problems. Truckers find humor in a lot of things just from going to sleep.

On a typical early morning around 2 AM, Bob found himself entering a construction zone. The road closed to a single lane with an endless line of yellow plastic cones marching off into the dark. The lowered speed limit of 45 MPH (72 KPS) seemed useless because there was absolutely no other traffic.

As his imagination strayed a little “bump, bump” brought him back to his job. He had caught 4-5 of the obnoxious yellow cones with his bumper and sent them dancing.

After a moment or two, Bob eased his rig back to the left and tapped several more cones. For no other reason than boredom he hammered the cones several times. It was a minor amusement but something tickled in the recesses of his mind.

The cones ended as all things. And, sure enough, dead ahead of Bob was that ‘tickle’ in the back of his mind. A highway patrol car sat on the right shoulder and as he looked, the bright red and blue lights came on and skewered the night in all directions.

Resigned to a ticket ol’ Bob geared the big heavy rig down and locked his brakes.

The highway patrol officer walked past the trailer full of dead birds to the cab. Bob was a little startled to see a big grin on the uniformed officer’s face.

“Evening,” said the officer, “please lock up your rig…we have a little job.”

A little abashed, Bob wondered if he was being arrested out here in the middle of nowhere. He did as requested and followed the policeman back to his vehicle. Bob opened the passenger side door as the officer signaled and sat down.

“I would like to see your license, please,” the uniformed peace officer said. He merely glanced it over and passed it quickly back.

A little sternly he stated to Bob, “I was standing outside as you came through there (the construction zone) and noticed you kicked a few of those cones with your bumper.” “Let’s go round them up,” he continued.

Faced with the inevitable, Bob just nodded as they flipped around and headed back.

At the first row of cones scattered around the truck driver got out and gathered them one by on and set them back aright. As he got back into the car the highway patrolman said, “my name is Rick,” and extended his hand to shake.

Rick it seemed had as big a problem with long nights as the truck drivers. Bob shook the hand, returned the good natured smile and started talking as they approached the next row of ‘un-horsed’ cones.

Neither mentioned the cones but they began to talk, joke and laugh their way along. Somewhere during the ‘job’, they discovered that both were Vets and had served in Vietnam; tho at different times.

The last couple of cone breaks Rick helped Bob reset them and they finished-up with a feeling of companionship that most Vets find with others who served.

When the car was finally back to the starting spot and parked, they both exited and walked slowly back to the truck’s big cab. Bob unlocked the door and stood there a little disappointed to end the chance meeting.

The shook hands and Rick stated, “Pull me over if you see me and I’ll buy you a cuppa!”

With that he turned & walked back to his car. Bob climbed aboard, fired up the rig and watched as Rick crossed the median with his patrol rig and went the opposite direction.

They never met again.

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