Now and Then

I didn’t set out to be a writer/photographer/musician, but what’s behind you often points to what’s ahead. Going through the ol’ picture file, I ran across a few photos of then…

Then

My qualifications for the job were the ability to sit for extended periods of time (I was a secretary most of my life), an acute attention to detail (lest you run over folks with the back of your trailer while making wide right turns), a spotless driving record, a sense of adventure, and an affinity for shifting gears. (I learned to drive in my Dad’s ol’ Chevy pickup with a “three on the tree.”)

Somehow The Man Of Few Words’ proposal (marriage and career-wise) tickled my fancy. For nearly ten years, I wrestled with road conditions, inched through traffic jams, secured cargo, tried to be a blessing to other drivers (my forté was praying folks down the road — including myself) and lived in a space smaller than a walk-in closet.

Home Away From Home

Most of the time I shared it with The Man Of Few Words (he’d drive the day shift; I’d drive nights) and we both lived to tell about it. Other times — many times — I’d head for points unknown in a separate rig. It was confidence-building, thrilling, and scary, but the lure of “around the bend” appealed to my soul and propelled me onward… plus, it gave me plenty of time to think.

Possibilities

Hard work? You betcha. Here’s moi preparing to clean my flatbed.

Fall Cleaning

Then, it was a matter of doing what I had to do.

Now, I’m doing what inspires me.

Potential Picnic

Ironically, writing (et al) has proved to be as hard or harder than an eleven hour day behind the wheel, but I wouldn’t trade one second of it. I’m where (and who) I am now because of millions of miles and memories then.

Life is cumulative, don’t you think?

Enjoying sitting still,

~ Kimby

A Toast To Trucking

Martini 1

In case it seems odd to propose a toast to trucking, I did it on purpose.  Drinking and driving don’t mix!

(Please bear with my mini-soap box.)

Back when I maneuvered an 80,000 pound vehicle down the freeway, highway, byway, or city street, I was mindful of the responsibility of having a CDL (Commercial Drivers License.)  The same goes when I’m driving my Jeep nowadays; on four wheels or eighteen, I value human life — mine included.

Please celebrate responsibly!

Ok, nuff said… I enjoy a good cocktail or a great wine now that I’m off the road.

To everything there is a season…

Speaking of which, it’s almost summer here and cocktails, beer, wine, and/or alcohol-laden concoctions are often a part of it.  For those of you who don’t imbibe, you have my utmost respect and permission to skip this post — but you’ll be missing out on a trucking story or two later. :)

For those of you who do tip a glass now and then, Martinis are on my mind.

Martini 2

I searched high and low for the perfect Martini recipe (mostly on Google) and was confounded by what I found (mostly controversy!)   Gin or vodka?  I prefer the latter.  To stir or not to stir?  I like the James Bond version — “Shaken, not stirred.”  Olives or lemon peel?  I enjoy the former.  How much Vermouth?  A splash does me fine.  (Have I lost you yet?!)  Just call me “The Queen of Parenthetical Thought!” (Lol.)

Anyway, to add to the ambience of this classic cocktail, I recently went in search of a Martini-making set and “spied” one (pardon the James Bond pun) at Libbys in Eufaula.  That’s where I got my very cool red double boiler, too.  I love the stores in this town!  By the way, Libbys features Picasso-like clothing combined with vintage cooking items and antiques — one of the many delights of shopping local, when I have occasion to shop.

Okay, I might as well throw in those trucking stories now, since one of them relates to being thirsty. :)

Martini

Martini 3

(Excerpted from an August 2006 letter)

Livingston, Tennessee was the place I heard my first genuine, bonafide “HOOO-EEEEE” from a Southern fellow by the name of Robert.  He came to unload our trailer, took one look at the huge generator we were delivering, scratched his head, and let out a Jed Clampett sounding expression that tickled me pink!  It was 100+ degrees outside, and humid, and by the time he was done unloading, Robert worked up a powerful thirst.

He went inside the office building, scrounged up the largest “water glass” he could find, and came out drinking ice cold H2O from a flower vase.  Driving around is a pleasant part of our job, but it’s the PEOPLE who really touch our hearts.

HOOO-EEEEE!

There’s another fellow I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention him (excerpted from a January 2006 letter.)

This past week our trucking trip was an adventure from the start.  We left early Thursday morning to pick up a load headed to Salt Lake City and the first person we encountered was “The Kissing Bandit.”  We hadn’t been in the terminal more than two minutes when this grizzly-looking fellow climbed up to Russ’s window and asked, “May I have permission to kiss your wife?”

Russ’s answer was: “You’d better ask her.”

The gentleman ambled over to my window, held out his hand, and revealed two Hershey’s kisses.  As it turned out, The Kissing Bandit carried a pocketful of chocolate kisses and enjoyed handing them out to the ladies. ;)  That’s one of the reasons I love trucking — ya never know when you’re going to meet a character, and God provides such a variety of people along the way.

Martini Set

Well, I’ve worked up a powerful thirst… and it’s time for a cocktail.

Like trucking stories, one (or two) will do.

Have a great week!

Enjoying vintage storytelling (and Martini sets),

~ Kimby

Deconstructed Migas

For nearly a decade, I hauled goods that ultimately ended up in the hands of the consumer.  Although most of my loads consisted of the large variety (steel, glass, and lumber for future shopping centers, hospitals, and homes), I occasionally toted canned goods or department store items.

Once, I even hauled a load of wine bottles to a vineyard. :)

Which reminds me… now that the season of accelerated wining and dining and shopping is upon us, be sure to thank a truck driver.

As a professional driver, it was my responsibility to pick up cargo on time, secure it safely, and make delivery dates before the appointed hour.  Although grueling at times, trucking allowed me to crisscross 45 of the 48 contiguous United States and see some of the most spectacular scenery you could ever hope to see.  It also gave me an opportunity to sample some fabulous regional food.

The first time I had Migas was at a café in Brownsville, Texas after I’d read a post by The Pioneer Woman.  She extolled their virtues in terms I could understand (divine and heavenly, to name a few) and I agreed with her assessment from the very first bite.  Thanks, Ree!  A girl can work up a powerful appetite driving all the way to Brownsville.

Interestingly enough, Migas means different things in different parts of the world.  In Spain, they’re made with day-old bread, olive oil, garlic, and spinach — or alfalfa.  In Portugal, they’re made with bread, garlic, olive oil, wild asparagus, tomatoes, and fresh coriander.  (For a few other interesting variations, click here.)  Down South (or at least farther South than Oklahoma), Migas consist of eggs scrambled with tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn tortillas, and cheese.

The culinary term “deconstructed” has been rattling around in my brain for awhile, so I decided to give it a go.  Not sure what to deconstruct, I opened my fridge…

Eggs.  Salsa.  Corn tortillas.

Sounded like Migas to me!

Deconstructed Migas

1 tsp. butter

1 corn tortilla

1 egg, poached

1/3 c. salsa (liberal interpretation of “tomatoes, onions, & peppers”)

2 Tbsp. sour cream (in lieu of cheese)

Smoked paprika, for garnish

Chives, for garnish

Melt butter in a small skillet until sizzling.  Add corn tortilla.  Fry until crisp on both sides; set aside to drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, poach an egg in boiling, salted water to your preferred “yolky-ness.”  (New culinary term…)

Place tortilla on a plate and mound salsa in the center.

(I used Salsa Me Krazy, which I won on basilmomma‘s show, Around The Kitchen Sink.  Thanks again, Heather and Brenda!)

Top with a poached egg and sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chives on the side.

Commence further deconstruction!

Enjoying culinary architecture & trucking memories,

~Kim

P.S.  This recipe (along with dozens of more favorites from around the world) is featured in Jane Sarchet’s FREE e-cookbook, Project Egg.  For details, click here.