Ed Miller’s A Trucker’s Tale: Wit Wisdom, and True Stories from 60 Years on the Road (Apollo Publishers, 186 pp., $22, hardcover; $9.99, Kindle) is a notably refreshing little book. Over the years, I’ve spoken to any number of folks who have riding in a big rig on their bucket lists; Miller’s book is a wonderful opportunity to vicariously clear that item off your list.
Miller begins his 18-wheeler tales of adventure as a youngster on the family farm in rural North Carolina. Then he brings us along with a breezy, conversational, and at times delicately profane story that reads like an extended bar-stool homily.
Reared by a family of truckers, Miller recounts dozens of anecdotes from a group of folks right out of central casting: neighbors, parents, grandparents, siblings.
In the late 1960s, after a halfhearted college effort, Ed Miller tells us, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and volunteered for the Seabees based in part on his familiarity with trucks and heavy equipment. He hoped the Navy would help to further his training and experience with trucks.
Miller soon found himself in the Vietnam War sitting in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck in Da Nang. His chapter on boot camp and advanced training with his Seabee battalion alone is worth the price of admission. The antics he relates are well worth reading. His in-country stories are as fun as they can be in a war zone, and certainly are an interesting view of a side of the war that most of us are unfamiliar with.
Returning from the service and moving through his work in the trucking industry, Miller keeps us turning pages—if only to see if he can outdo himself describing yet another on-the-road incident.
Interestingly, laced through most of the stories is a subtle undercurrent of personal honesty, and a sense of honor and performing good deeds. Miller is a Knight of the Highway because of his helpfulness and can-do spirit. He briefly addresses the decline of that sense of duty and service today.
In this, his first book, Ed Miller has come up with a well-written and well-edited one. It moves along nicely; you can read it in just about one sitting.
If you’ve ever driven trucks, or wanted to, you’ll be nodding in agreement all the way through this one.