Saturday, March 24, 2012

This show is history

One of the things you notice about the Mid-America Trucking Show is the sense of history -- in the show itself, in the people who attend, in the exhibitors. History is everywhere.

Navistar has vehicles on display dating back to the early 1900s. Freightliner went with a retro look on some of its trucks. Old school trucks are everywhere you look, from the show truck parking lot to the show floor.

But history is in the people, too. Many people here have been coming to this show for years, some of them probably since it began. Even the people who cover the show are deeply connected with the history of the trucking business.

When Rolf Lockwood, vice president of editorial at Newcom Business Media and founding editor of Today's Trucking, was handed the lifetime achievement award at the Truck Writers of North America banquet, he talked about how his mother would tell stories of him as a 3 year old kissing the fender of a truck. The trucking industry isn't just something he writes about. It's in his blood.

I have been working with Land Line for almost seven years, so you can imagine that, even though I'm 40, I still feel like a little kid next to some of the people here who have been entrenched in this business for their entire lives.

So it was somewhat of a surprise to me, then, to come across a bit of my own history while walking the show floor. It came in the form of Amalie Motor Oil when I stumbled across the booth on the show floor. It may sound strange to hear someone waxing nostalgic about a motor oil, but that particular brand was a significant part of my childhood.

My father worked for Witco, the company that owned Amalie once upon a time, for about 20 years. He sold Amalie Motor Oil for most of that time. As such, that red logo adorned hats, shirts, jackets and who knows how many articles of clothing I wore as a child. I probably even had some Amalie underwear.

I have three siblings and we all share the same memories of Amalie, so I snapped a photo of the booth and sent it off to them. I'm sure they will be flooded with memories, as I was, of our fourth grade teacher, Mr. Hammond, who asked for a new Amalie hat each time one of the Scruton children passed through his class.

So, yeah, I may not have been around as long as some of the people in the trucking industry. Not by a long shot. But it's nice to know I have my own little piece of history right here in Louisville.

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