Salute: From a truck driver’s daughter to her dad
The following comes from Idaho-based Rici Lowe, about her father Richard “Buck” Buchholz, a former owner-operator who recently retired after a time driving for Walmart.
I am a 44-year-old, um, young lady with three sisters who grew up with a father who drove truck. Every since I can remember, our Dad was on the road. We would get excited, or nervous if we were in trouble, when we heard Dad was coming home. Our home was not like all of our friends’ homes. We had our Mom, but Dad was someone who stopped by to do laundry, sleep, maybe share a meal or two and then leave again. Or when the phone rang, it was all of us girls taking turns talking to Dad. Or he would holler at us on the CB. We all had handles and loved talking to our Dad and all of his friends on the CB.
As we girls got older, we started understanding that Dad being gone was not the ideal living situation. We thought he chose to be gone, away from us. He missed out on so many “firsts” when we were little — so many birthdays, Christmas mornings, Thanksgiving dinners, track meets and volleyball and basketball games. Mom was left playing the role of mom and dad. Now, as a single mom, I know that had to have been so hard, especially with four teenage girls!
A couple of my sisters seem to resent Dad for not being there, but I understand that this was his job and that in order for us to have what we needed, he would have to be gone.
At 44 now, I am just getting to know my Dad. He is 67 and about 6 months ago was forced to retire. He has been diagnosed with a liver disease that is incurable. Due to some of the side effects, they can’t allow him to drive. The doctor told him to “go live… do things and go places you have always wanted to. We don’t know how long you have.”
I have never been very close to my Dad, as he was always on the road. When he was home, it was for a short time, so he would have to do a lot in a short amount of time. Plus, he was always so used to the solitude on the road, coming home to four daughters and their drama, when we were younger, and now four daughters and grandkids and great grandkids… The noise and excitement was sometimes almost too much for him.
I have spent more time with my Dad in the past six months than I ever have. Now, he is saddened by the retirement and sick. We have sat and had many talks lately and I have watched his eyes fill up with tears, saying, “I miss it, Rici. I miss being out on the road.”
Dad drove truck for many companies and owned his own trucks. Most recently he worked for Walmart. He has said that they were by far the best company he ever drove for. He told me that one of the hardest days of his life was cleaning out his Walmart truck, with “Uncle Buck” painted on the door, closing that door for the last time and walking away.
I now can see that my Dad didn’t just drive truck for a job, or to clothe, feed and keep a roof over four little girls’ and a wife’s head because he loved them — he also did it for the love, the love of being on the road.
I wrote the poem here for my Dad, Richard “Buck” Buchholz of Caldwell, Idaho, on Father’s Day. I gave it to him in a frame along with a picture of us four little girls. As I read it to him, he cried, I cried, my Mom and sisters cried. He said, “Wow, Ric, you hit it right on the nose. All I did and felt for all of those years, as well as telling me from you girls’ point of view all in one poem on one piece of paper. I never realized you girls felt that way.”
He also said, “If they called me back tomorrow, I’d go back in a heartbeat, but I can’t. I heard something once that you should find a job doing something you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life. That’s what I had.” –Rici Lowe, proud to be “Buck’s” daughter