CBs and the Grandpaw Harry Show

15 10 2017

Back around 1977 a movie about two free-spirited, renegade truckers was released. The storyline was they had to drive to Colorado, pick up a load of beer and bring it back to Rock _nTexas in a certain amount of time. One drove a hot Trans Am out ahead of the truck to watch out for Smokies (Police Officers) as they raced across the states at neck break speeds. By now I’m sure you’ve figured out I’m revering to “Smokey and the Bandit.” Well the movie was a box-office hit, but it was also the starting point of a craze that swept the country. The two stars communicated with CB radios using all the jargon and slang that truckers were known for. “What’s your 20? You got your ears on? 10-4 good buddy,” etc. Within the course of a year sales of CBs for cars and home skyrocketed. Millions began conversing with friends and strangers all across the country. The airwaves became so packed with users the FCC changed regulations allowing radios to carry 40 channels instead of 23. Nearly every person I knew had CBs, and yes, I was guilty as anyone having one of the squawk boxes in my van; which brings us to my story.

Back in the early years of my Lady’s and my marriage we’d often travel to my birth-state of West Virginia to visit family and take in the grandeur of the mountains. Being a night person, I preferred to start out in the evening and arrive the next morning. Cathy would go to sleep and I’d be left with my thoughts, the radio, and the CB. I seldom spoke on that contraption since I didn’t understand half the lingo that was being used, so I would just listen, and often wonder what the folks broadcasting on airwaves were really like in their day to day routine. The best profile of one of these individuals ever to capture my imagination was a CBer in Charleston, West Virginia that called himself “Grandpaw Harry.” You could tell he was an elderly man and that the expressions of his words fit his handle to a T.

I was about halfway through the city on 77, daylight was still an hour away and the highway was busy with morning commuters when his voice came through my speakers clear as a bell. “Good morning to all my friends out there! “Grandpaw Harry here wishing you a safe and happy day; don’t forget to smile!” As tired as I felt, his words gave me a better pick-me-up than a cup of coffee. I was about to pick up the mic and tell him thank you for making my day so early when another voice, with much less of a cheering attitude came blasting through. “Hey you old goat, is that all you have to do, get on the radio so people can hear how crazy you are. You must have escaped when they left the door to the mental hospital unlocked!” I’m not a person who’s taken to road rage but at that second had I been able to locate this killjoy, well let’s just say the arrival time to our destination would have been postponed! Now there was silence coming from the radio, that is, until an upset lady let it fly.  “Why you stinkin sourpuss! How dare you belittle him for wanting to spread a little joy. Crawl back under your rock and leave the good people alone!” She followed up with, “Grandpaw Harry, thank you for every morning having something nice to say, it means so much!” Another person came on, “Grandpaw, you are a vision of what all of us should try to be; thank you!” This was followed by at least half of dozen more voicing their support for Grandpaw and his cheerful words. Killjoy never came back on the radio and for a long moment neither did Harry. Then, out of silence there Grandpaw was again, and this time he was singing. “Let me call you sweetheart I’m in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too. Keep the love light glowing in your eyes so true. Let me call you sweetheart I’m in love with you.” Oh my! Ma use to sing that song to me when I was a little boy, and hearing him sing it made my heart want to jump out of my chest in joy. After many spoke love felt accolades to Grandpaw Harry, he came back on the CB. “Thank you all, it’s such a joy to know I have wonderful friends out there. I’ll be back tomorrow morning; be safe, have a happy day and don’t forget to smile.” Don’t forget to smile?!! I don’t think my face would have stopped grinning if you would have hit me with a bat!!

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” I drew a picture in my mind of Harry, someone who possibly doesn’t get around well anymore. All his life he’s been a person everyone likes because of his attitude. A man that goes out of his way to bring a little cheer to all he meets. Maybe he can no longer physically go out to greet others, so he uses this new avenue to spread his message of cheer. It makes me wonder if God brought the CB craze along just at the right moment for tired, early morning travelers around Charleston, West Virginia to have their day perked up a touch by Grandpaw Harry, still spreading joy and happiness.

Over my lifetime I’ve met my share of people that have rejected God because they feel there’s just no fun, no joy in being a follower of Christ. I don’t know anyplace I have had the freedom, joy, and laughter as I have found since becoming a believer. Trust me when I say He wants us to be more like Grandpaw Harry, than old Mr. Killjoy.

John 11:15: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”                                                            Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

Does that mean life is always great and you’ll never be sad or downhearted? Nope! It means you don’t have to stay in that condition. There will always be something that God brings your way to give you hope and joy, and then the power and ability to pass it to others. As I like to say, give it a go!

Well in a few short years the CB craze died down which I’m sure truckers, police and emergency workers were thankful for. And I never did hear from Grandpaw Harry again; by now I’m sure this happy, joy spreading “Traveler of the Rock Road” has left this world. But who knows, maybe someday when I get to Heaven and I’m boppin’ down Eternity Ave, perhaps getting ready to duck into the Celestial Coffee Shop there might be someone sitting on a street bench made of gold, crooning an old tune. “Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you.”  Hey! Grandpaw Harry! My Man!!!

See ya next time.




4 responses

18 10 2017
Gary Austin

Thank you, John, for your weekly words of encouragement. We may be 3 hrs north but by the means of email we are split seconds. I may not be in the Prayer Room but that doesn’t mean I not praying for you. gary austin

On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 6:10 PM, Traveling the Rock Road wrote:

> rockroad posted: “Back around 1977 a movie about two free-spirited, > renegade truckers was released. The storyline was they had to drive to > Colorado, pick up a load of beer and bring it back to Texas in a certain > amount of time. One drove a hot Trans Am out ahead of the tru” >

20 11 2017

Thank you Gary. Sorry so long to get back to you, been gone quite a bit. Your comments are always a blessing to me, and I truly miss your prayers after worship time.
Blessings to you my Brother!


19 10 2017
Beverly Crane

It would be great if we had more Grandpaw Harry’s in this world. I’m pretty sure the world would be a different place. Thank you for the messages you give to each of us John. Sure makes my day go better.

20 11 2017

Thank you Beverly. Please know your encouraging comments are always a blessing to me.
Blessings to you and our husband.


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