The Truckstop

14 06 2020

As a young person back in my adopted hometown of Fremont Ohio, seemFleetwing Truck Stoped like my friends and I could always find something to do. Since I was in bands back then, I was at a dance or party nearly every weekend. We would gather at someone’s house, pile into my VW Micro-bus and cruise up and down State St, the main drag that ran four lanes from end to end in our little town. Sometimes after dark we’d head to a couple of places that were rumored to be haunted that had names to go with the persona wrapped around them, like Screaming Mimi Bridge or Crybaby Lanes. Our objective wasn’t to look for spooks in these eerie locations, but to scare the bajeebers out of others who came to see if any supernatural phenomenon was taking place. We’d make noises, shine bring lights from the trees, and jump out suddenly at our unsuspecting but nervous prey. You definitely wanted to be quick at getting out of the way because many would slam down on the accelerator in their car and not slow up until they were miles away. For any who are reading this that might have been on the frightening end of our shenanigans, my deepest apologies. But it sure was funny back then.

As the night got late, everyplace would be closed, that is except for one. The Fleetwing Truckstop, better known to the locals as Mark’s. I wouldn’t venture to count how many times I found myself there in the early hours of the morn chowing down on steak, eggs and home fries. It was there I drank my first cup of coffee. My buddies and I had just walked in and sat down when the short gal who must have been a drill sergeant before becoming a waitress sits coffee cups in front of each of us and starts pouring before we could even say anything. “Oh no mam, I don’t drink coffee, I’d like to have a Coke.” She never looked  at me, just kept pouring and said, “I saw your boy stagger in here from the parking lot. You’re going to sit here and drink coffee until you sober up, and don’t even think about leaving before then!” I couldn’t argue with her, and frankly was a bit intimidated to do so. So, we’d sit and drink coffee with a whole lot of sugar. It became a habit to stop out there every weekend, sometime for breakfast, other times the juiciest cheeseburger you ever sank your teeth in, or a bottomless cup of coffee for $.50. If we didn’t bother the truckers who were relaxing and telling each other tales of the road in the adjoining lounge; we could go in there and play some pinball. All in all, it became a great place just to hang out with some friends and as long as we behaved ourselves, we were welcome there anytime. The workers got to know us by name and often knew what we wanted before we even ordered.

One evening my girlfriend and I had gone to a party that got pretty wild, even for me as crazy as I was back then. I knew my gal was uncomfortable, so we decided to leave. On the way to the car, there was group of guys that probably had too much to drink and were making remarks as we passed them. One reached out and put his arm around her. She screamed and I gave the guy a push. Next thing I know I’m looking at a small group of them, and as the old saying goes, I didn’t know how many of them it was going to take to beat me down, but I had a real good idea how many they planned to use! We hurried to the car and left but I could see them piling into another vehicle and head after us. I didn’t want to go to either of our houses because we both lived on dark streets and it would be easy for them to start trouble with no one to see them. So, I drove the only place I could think of; straight through town and out to Mark’s. We got there about 30 seconds before they did and hurried in. My usual waitress saw us and knew something was wrong so I told her a group of guys were going to be there any second to cause trouble. “Oh no they’re not!” She met them at the door as they were coming in. “Out! You’re not coming here so turn around and leave. I could hear them arguing with her but they weren’t intimidating Old Sargent Coffee Pusher! They were losing, but not ready to give up, that is until a trucker about the size of a refrigerator lumbered over, put his arm around her shoulder and stared at them. Intelligence must have kicked in to this posse of punks, as a friend would call anyone who acted tough in a group. They headed to their car and our hero in an apron watched them until they left.  I must have thanked her several times before she stopped me and said, “Hey, I don’t know them, I know you. No one is going to come in here and caused trouble for anyone who is apart of us.” Wow!

Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Philippians 2:4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Now I don’t want anyone to think I’m making accusations, but as I was remembering this story, I couldn’t help but think about what a wonderful message to the world it would be if we treated each other like, “You are important to me.” “You are family.” “I am here for you.” Again, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, except the man in the mirror? And isn’t that where each of us should start anyway? Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Just a thought.

I left Fremont years ago and since then Fleetwing Truckstop and Mark’s Restaurant closed up, but the memories it left in me and many others still remain. And today, when I look back at the memory, fun, and lesson this “Traveler of the Rock Road” experienced, I’m thankful to God for every moment. And especially Sergeant Coffee Pusher!

See ya next time.


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8 responses

15 06 2020
larry

I remember Marks-well.

23 06 2020
rockroad

It was a wonderful place back when I was young.
Thanks for reading Traveling the Rock Road.
Blessings to you and your loved ones.

John

23 06 2020
Cora Thomas

Is this where Bobby’s presently is located

23 06 2020
rockroad

Hi Cora,
I’m really not sure as I left Fremont in 1974. When I am back home I seldom go out that way; I know there some type of business there but what I’m not sure of. sorry.
But thank you for reading Traveling the Rock Road.
Blessings to you and your loved ones.

John

23 06 2020
Beverly Crane

I think Sgt Coffee Pusher was your Guardian Angel that night. I think it’s wonderful how you relate your childhood memories to scriptures from the Bible. Thanks for sharing John.

23 06 2020
rockroad

Hi Beverly, and once again thank you for your kind words.
I believe we each have a story to tell. The question is what did we learn from an experience, even if it seems a small matter to the rest of the world. When I look back at my moments I see how God was at work whether I knew it at the time or not. That is what I hope to share with all who read Traveling the Rock Road.
Blessings to you and your loved ones.

John

24 08 2020
Lostiinsmalltownamerica

Wonderful glimpse of when Fremnt,Ohio was cool. My Brothers and I worked at our family’s restaurant and went there a lot to play pinball and eat. My Dad worked there at one time before we were born.

26 08 2020
rockroad

I imagine the list of people that had stories of hanging out at the truck stop is endless. I was a bit sad when I came back to Fremont one time to discover it was not longer. But at least we have our memories. May I ask what restaurant your family owned?

John

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