My father, Leryon Moss Batts, known on the CB as Pink Panther, began his driving career in western Kentucky at 17. Now, after 61 years and at 78, he is finally slowing down.
Owner of Moss Batts Trucking, my dad has always been extraordinary and hardworking. He’d spend his weekdays on the road, pulling a dry van with all kinds of freight so that we could live comfortably. But by Friday nights we’d hear that familiar roar – Pink Panther was home, safe and sound.
The weekends for him should have been spent relaxing, but they never were. He was always excited to take his three youngsters on their latest adventure, whether it was go-cart racing or seeing a movie. By the time summer came, we no longer had to wait to see dad. We were always invited to go with him on the road, a special treat for us since it meant both getting to see him and the country.
As the boys grew older and moved out, it eventually became just my dad and me on the weekend adventures. Go-cart racing was replaced with shopping sprees at the mall and driving lessons on my dad’s beloved Dodge pickup. He never once complained; he was just glad he had time to spend with me.
For now, my dad is in “early retirement,” as he calls it, due to health complications. Instead of working relentlessly, he spends his days “holding down” his recliner, channel surfing and babysitting my 12-week-old Pomeranian, a life of leisure that is well deserved.
To say that he is just a truck driver is an understatement: It is his job, his hobby and his passion. He has worked to provide for us. I am not only extremely grateful but blessed to have such a wonderful man as my dad.
KIMBERLY L. BATTS
South Fulton, Tenn.
“If a trucker were to Twitter, would that make him a Twucker?”
– Former trucker Terry Smelser, commenting on the messaging network Twitter.com on his blog, “Inn from the Night.”
What’s the one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
“My baby sledgehammer. Sometimes the handles on my truck get stuck. If you don’t have that hammer, you’re gonna have trouble.”
Gainesville, Fla. | Paschall Truck Lines
“Music. It’s too boring without it. I like anything that’s Spanish.”
Pharr, Texas | Ernesto Silva Transport
“The APU system. It keeps it cool, keeps it warm, lets you cook, lets you watch TV. If I lose that, I’ll have to eat in restaurants, and that’s too expensive.”
San Antonio, Texas | Prime Inc.
“Air-conditioning, because mine just went out and it’s super-hot.”
Metropolitan Trucking | Avon, Ohio
“My cell phone. Keeps me connected with everyone – my kids, my family, my company.”
York, Ala. | Werner Enterprises
Affected trucks include model year 2008-2018 Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4700, 4900, 5700 and 6900 trucks. DTNA says after hard brake applications, the brake light pressure switch may not activate the brake lights with the light application of the brake pedal.