Happy New Year, one and all! The Season of Rejoicing & Overindulgence is behind us. It is my sincere hope that your time with friends and loved ones was truly safe and rewarding. It certainly was a celebration like none other we have experienced in recent history. Churches that were compliant were cold and empty, and most of the pomp and circumstance we usually have was virtual on TV and the Internet.
Goodbye 2020! Your passing won’t be mourned by many, although many will mourn the results of the actions and inactions that we have seen over possibly the worst 12 months in political history. I do not wish to politicize this column; however, I believe it is important to understand the implications, particularly because of the critical role the transportation industry is playing in the scheme of things. If it wasn’t for drivers bringing emergency supplies to destinations that are in distress, North America’s situation would be much worse. Indeed, trucks carrying lifesaving vaccines to at least 600 injection sites were on the move toward the end of the year. Many of you, like my son Chris, even worked over the holidays. Good on you! Know that you are valuable and valued citizens. Walk and drive with pride!
What may we expect from 2021? What happens across the border always has a distinct effect on us Canucks. They are our biggest trading partner and many of us have friends and relatives who live there. Personally I think it will take a big effort on the part of the President and Vice PresidentElect in the U.S. to return America to even a partly normal routine. Of course this will require the support of those individuals that pass or reject action that will actually “make America great again.”
When I hear people say they would like things to return to ‘normal,’ I know they aren’t thinking clearly. The old normal is where all this panic, chaos and pandemic were spawned. No ‘normal’ person would wish to go back there. Canada has fared somewhat better than its neighbours to the south, but we cannot allow complacency to lull us into a state of self-satisfaction, and we must remain alert to the hazards lurking in our midst.
When I reflect on my past career, I remember the many stops and social interactions with other drivers during road closures, layovers and such. In this modern era of rush-rush and Just In Time delivery, these occasions are now few and far between. There was a time that a driver knew where everyone that mattered to him or her was on the continent. Today nobody knows anymore who’s behind that illegally tinted window comin’ atcha. The camaraderie of the vocation has died an unnatural death and likely will not ever be born again. Since Stan Fraser was beaten unmercifully and left for dead in a ditch near Valemont, BC drivers think twice before stopping to offer help or pick up a hitchhiker.
Enough about the good (?) old days. Let us move forward in 2021 with a smile on our lips and a good word for everyone. You can make a difference. Start waving at every truck you meet on the road again. If everyone did that we could quite possibly turn the clock back and make driving more enjoyable again. Perform an act of kindness every day and watch what it does for your own wellbeing. Be compliant and be safe. The life you save could be your own … 10-4!