Minnesota School Of Music - October 2018

10. 2018 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com

WHAT I LEARNED TRUCKING WITH MY GRANDFATHER REFLECTIONS ON A RIDE THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN

I love this time of year — the weather is cool without being freezing, and the autumn colors are coming out in full force. If you’re like me, watching this transition from summer to fall can give you a lot to think about. I find myself spacing out about the past and the passage of time — the ways we all grow and change over the years. As I sit down to write this fall edition, one formative memory in particular runs circles around my mind: trucking down to St. Louis with my grandpa. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in the passenger’s seat of my grandfather’s green and white Peterbilt cabover semi. As a trucker, he would venture as far as Dallas delivering baked goods from the Twin Cities, and sometimes I was lucky enough to ride along with him. One of the very first long hauls I got to do with him was to Missouri, and I still remember the excitement I felt to this day. The drive itself was long and tedious. There wasn’t much else besides corn, soybeans, and cattle between here and St. Louis, especially back in the ‘80s. I must have been around 4 years old on this trip, and the monotony of the journey soon overtook my excitement about the road. Thankfully, my granddad was good at keeping me entertained. As he drove, my grandfather explained to me what the different lights and switches on the dashboard did, and sometimes he reached up and tooted the big horn when I asked him to. He kept the CB radio truckers use to communicate with each other on, and he taught me to listen for his call sign, “double-headed eagle.” As you might imagine, spending the drive listening to truckers talk to one another expanded my childhood vocabulary in some colorful ways.

an impact on me. I was already a baseball fan at that age, and staring up at the big brick archways of the Cardinals’ home field took my breath away. In fact, as I got older, I began planning entire trips around getting to see baseball parks around the country. I even took my son down to St. Louis for a Cardinals game! Reflecting on that first journey down to St. Louis, I realize that the real highlight was simply the time I got to spend with my grandpa. He was my father figure and one of the best role models a boy could ask for. He was kind and jovial, making a point to learn the name of everyone he met. As a boy traveling with him, I marveled at the way his charm put people at ease and how easily he could win friends, whether he was doing business or ordering a sandwich. I’m not sure if this was a lesson he was trying to teach me or not, but watching the way my grandfather conducted himself around others was one of the most valuable things I picked up from him. In business and in my personal life, I’ve seen the value of approaching people with the same genuine, down- to-earth manner my granddad did. Without his influence, it’s safe to say our school would not have the feeling of interconnectedness that it does with our community today.

Thanks for everything, Gramps!

At the time, I was most excited to be driving in a new city and seeing all the sites. Busch Stadium in particular made

–Eric Nehring

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