Showed dad the article … He said, “Better than being on the cover of Rolling Stone.” Went on to tell me a story of when he was younger: “When we first saw an Overdrive magazine, Grandpo (his dad) owned a little hole-in-the-wall gas station in Los Lunas, N.M. One day a driver delivering fuel showed up and needed to get turned around and to do so he needed to drive down the road to do it. He ask Dad if he wanted to go with him on the big truck… Dad said heck yeah, and jumped in the cab, and mentioned an Overdrive mag the driver had on the seat. When they got back the driver gave the magazine to dad. Dad said it was the most awesome thing ever. He said he kept it till it fell apart. So that’s why dad is so excited about this article. He said, “Who would have thought all these years later? Thought I would share that with you.
Not gonna lie, I got a little choked up over that one. It was one of the many awesome stories about awesome people I’ve been awesomely lucky enough to hear and share with the folks who have been crazy or bored enough to read this blog for the last six years.
The “Rolling Stone” of trucking magazines is a pretty apt description of Overdrive, and having an opportunity to begin my writing career at such an elevated level is still one of the best things I ever did accidentally.
The unplanned nature of the first George and Wendy Show blog post leads me to believe the unplanned nature of the last post (for OverdriveOnline.com, anyway, and i.e., this post –ed., gonna miss it) is just another weird and cosmic occurrence in our trucking adventures that was meant to be.
I’ve written close to a thousand pieces for this little spot of heaven, and we’ve traveled hundreds and thousands of miles while I wrote them, so when George walked into a trucking company eight miles from our home to drop off truck show information and found one of the most complete collections of the very magazine for which we’d provided content the last six years, I knew it was meant to be and the perfect post to close our tenure at Overdrive.
Jerry Howard got his first subscription when he was a kid. The July 1970 edition was the first he remembers taking care of and wanting to preserve, but it wasn’t the first issue he owned. “I used to pay my older brothers to take me to the 69 truck stop so I could buy a copy,” he says. “When I got my subscription, I didn’t even have a checking account. I gave my mom the money and she wrote a check for it.”
The Howard family has been involved in one form of trucking or the other since Jerry’s dad had dumps and belly trucks in the 50s. The business remained on the same general plot of land in Fairborn, Ohio, and Jerry bought it after his father passed away. He and his brothers have owned and operated what the old-timers around Fairborn call “Howard #2” since 1989.
These days, Howard Trucking runs between 18-20 trucks, hauling box, flatbed, drop-deck and the occasional reefer over-the-road. The business focuses mainly on air-freight pulls, which are abundant in the Dayton/Indy/Columbus area. Jerry doesn’t do much OTR anymore, but he’s definitely one of the old-school brotherhood. If it’s not immediately evident in his good manners and vast knowledge of trucking history, it’s evident in the trucking history he collects.
Getting the last piece wrapped up for The George and Wendy in Overdrive Magazine.
Posted by The George and Wendy Show on Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Jerry has an amazing collection of historical trucks. He’s had a truck on the 2007 Shell Rotella Super Rigs calendar. He won a People’s Choice Award at PKY in Louisville. He’s built and bought and restored gorgeous trucks for years, but the bug that started it was getting his custom-built, 1985 Peterbilt glider kit in the “Liberty Edition” of Overdrive in 1986.
“Back when I was coming up, getting your truck in Overdrive was a big deal. Everyone wanted to see their truck in the book,” he says. “Who knew, 16 years after I got my first subscription, I’d have mine in it?”
His collection of Overdrive magazines spans from February, 1962 to October 2016 and is pretty complete up to 1989. If you’d like to see the collection of magazines, or historical trucks, you can drop in on the show they’re having May 19 at the shop in Fairborn. This will be the 18th year Jerry and the crew open their garage to the public, and he enjoys seeing other people view the collection as much as they enjoy seeing it.
Jerry says, “Every year this little area has couches and chairs set up, and it stays full of people reading the books, looking at the old articles, remembering the old days.”
He does have a couple of printed Overdrive magazines with my work in them, and I can’t tell you how neat it is to look at the collection and know our name and my work is included in that history.
It has been a real honor to contribute to a piece of trucking history. George and I had no idea what was in store for us when we started this crazy little blog, but we both agree that it’s been one helluva fun ride.
I am forever grateful to Max Heine, who had faith in me and allowed me to develop my own style, even if it was maddening and awful sometimes. I am indebted to Todd Dills, who suffered the bulk of my editorial nightmares without being mean to me (Stop watching that squirrel, Wendy, and get to work. –ed.). I feel very privileged to have worked with James, and Carolyn and Linda and the rest of the Overdrive professionals I’ve grown to admire and respect very much. Thank you all for having me.
The George and Wendy Show blog will continue on our website, which launches Friday, and the archives will remain here on the Overdrive website. We’re not leaving the industry, we’re just doing some new and different things. You haven’t gotten rid of me just yet. I’ll still be writing for the industry, and we’ll still be traveling, and we hope to see you on the road.
Be safe out there, y’all.