Mom & Pop Shop: Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell
EARLY EACH MORNING,
BEFORE THE SUN IS EVEN UP,
THE TRUCK STOP OPENS FOR BREAKFAST,
AND THE TRUCKS START PULLING IN.
But before the first 18-wheeler rolls in, Mom, Dad, and their son are already there, starting their day and getting ready to keep 'em rolling along the main highway. The boy squeezes orange juice, Dad starts the bacon and hash browns frying, and Mom gets the coffee brewing.
Outside Uncle Murray turns on the outside lights and gets the service center lights on as well, just as the headlights of the regulars start lighting the lot with their headlights. Sam parks his big rig, gets Uncle Murray to check all this tires, and fills up with coffee and eggs over easy. Maisie's Milk Tanker rolls in, followed by Diligent Dan's Moving Van, who fill up their tanks at the pumps and their tummies at the counter.
As the sun lights up the front windows, in comes a flatbed hauler and Pete & Priscilla's Tow Truck. The regulars are all there, except for Green Gus, the little battered pickup and his driver, who usually start the day at the family's diner counter.
Still wondering about Gus, the boy runs out to meet the Yellow Bus, which makes its special stop out front to pick him up for school.
ON THE OLD BLACKTOP ROAD THROUGH THE WOODS, I SUDDENLY SEE GREEN GUS, PARKED ALL ALONE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!
"PLEASE CALL THE TRUCK STOP AND SAY I'VE FOUND GUS!" I ASK THE BUS DRIVER.
It looks like Pete & Priscilla's Tow Truck will be making its first run of the day right away, the boy thinks, as he settles back into his seat with a sense of a job well done. After all, Gus is a regular, and even if the boy is on his way to school, it's still his job to take care of him when he needs the truck stop to help.
Anne Rockwell, a famed veteran writer with a gazillion books going back over decades under her belt, establishes a wonderfully warm family feeling in her latest, Truck Stop (Viking, 2013). For this kid, the family shop is his home, a place where his is an important job, part of the on-the-road community that they serve. There is a strong pride and sense of place in Rockwell's setting that makes this homey business more than a mere gas-and-go stop on the long highway. Artist Melissa Iwai's solidly soft and rounded illustrations add a just-right heartland flavor to this look into the life of a small mom-and-pop place which plays its part in what keeps the business of life rolling.