Expanding our views to the deep underground

Updated May 23, 2012

I learned today a bit of coal miner history. Learned by viewing the memorial and exhibit at the freeway rest area on I-79 in Kirby, Pa.

Diane woke up this morning at our delivery in West Virginia. I stayed awake with the freight at that location to attend the load as required by the shipper. The delivery was completed when the consignee opened for business. Our next stop was a retail area nearby where we parked and went to sleep.

We were interrupted four times with load offers, all of which we declined. Our thinking was that the lower paying freight would be dispatched early and we would get a better paying run later in the day. Once the people who are willing to take lower paying freight had been dispatched and trucks got harder to find, we figured we’d be able to command a higher price in the afternoon. It did not work out that way. The phone quit ringing after noon, leaving us with nothing.

Realizing we struck out, we drove to the Kirby rest area to be closer to Pittsburgh and more freight opportunities. That’s where we ended up spending the night.

This is an interesting rest area. Directly below the building — 460 feet below — an explosion occurred in a coal mine there, killing 37 miners. It happened on December 6, 1962, and is known as the Robena Mine’s Frosty Run explosion.

A while ago Diane and I picked up freight at a company that was located on a Chesapeake Bay inlet. While there, I thought about people who run off to sea to make a living. I thought about how a child growing up there would be aware of the sea and how that awareness would figure into his or her world view and employment thinking.

I have read about truckers who decided at an early age to be truckers because they were captivated by the trucks they saw driving by their house or town where trucks could be seen. Rolling trucks captured their imagination and extended their world view and employment thinking to America’s highway network.

We have picked up and delivered freight at the Kennedy Space Center and now own a vacation house not far from there. The area is known as Florida’s Space Coast. With space references all around, kids growing up there would develop an above average awareness of the U.S. space program and outer space. Their world view and employment thinking would have an upward bias, extending to the stars.

When Diane returned to the truck after seeing and reading about the coal miner memorial, she said that in the many times we have driven through and stopped in coal mining country, she never thought about the mines that were deep under our feet and the people moving around in them. Neither had I, until today. Today our world view expanded deep into the ground to the mines that lie below and the people who provide the country with coal.

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