An Unfortunate Incident Involving a Truck

I have a fear of driving. As fears go, I feel like it’s a logical one. Many people die or are seriously injured in car crashes. Nevertheless, though it may be a logical fear, it’s not really a practical one.

This summer I’m driving combine for my dad’s cousin Darrell, on the original family farm that was owned by my great-grandfather. What I like about working for Darrell is that I’ve been able to learn some practical skills beyond driving combine. He’s had me take his pickup various places, and it’s a stick shift, which I’m not used to driving. I’ve also driven the truck in and out of the field at times.

Due to my fear of driving and my love of learning practical skills, I’ve been rather proud of myself for learning these things. I even kind of bragged about it on Instagram. But you know what they say about pride.

The fall, as it were, came the very next day.

We were working on a small field just off of Harris drive. This one required us to use the road for access, instead of just driving through little back lanes on the farm. When we finished, Darrell asked if I’d rather drive the combine back to the shop, or take the truck.

Eager for a chance to test out my truck driving skills on the road, I chose the truck.

The field had yielded more than Darrell had anticipated, and the truck was full to the brim with seed. Darrell had to tarp it, but he couldn’t find a bungee cord to tie it down with, so he used his bandana. It was a bit dubious, and he told me to just drive really slow.

So I got in the truck, and started pulling out onto the road. No one was coming from either direction, so I was good. I took it nice and slow. And then…


Something shifted. Something was wrong. I thought about the dubiously tied tarp, and panicked. I stopped the truck, and it rolled backward a bit, and started tipping to the right.

Darrell came running up. “What did I do?” I asked, confused.

He had a frightened look on his face. “Pull the parking brake and get out!” He said. “You’re about to roll the truck!”

Now I was scared, obviously, and I jumped out. Somehow, the back wheel of the truck bed was in the ditch. I was confused. How had I not seen a ditch there?

Well, it turns out that when you’re driving a long truck, it doesn’t just neatly follow behind you when you turn a corner. Of course this may seem obvious, but it did not occur to me when I was turning onto the road. The back wheel didn’t hit the driveway, but rather cut the corner and went in the ditch. When I stopped because I didn’t know what was wrong, I rolled backwards further into the ditch, and with the bed full of seed and very heavy, I very nearly rolled it.

To make matters infinitely worse, the ENTIRE HOSTETLER HAY CREW was in the field across the road, eating their supper.

Not only that, but apparently the whole Hostetler clan–wives, children, everybody–who all know me because I was their school secretary–had come to eat supper with the crew.

And oh, yeah. My cousin Randy’s wife Shelly just happened to be walking by at that moment as well.

Darrell called Simone to bring the tractor, and then walked over to the Hostetler clan and asked Tina to give him a ride back to the shop.

I hid in the combine, mortified.


My view of my failure as I hid in the combine.

Darrell got some chains at the shop, Simone picked him up in the tractor, and they returned and pulled the truck out of the ditch. All was, apparently, fine.

I didn’t know if I would ever be allowed to drive the truck again, but Darrell pulled it back into the field and gestured for me to come down out of my hiding place in the combine. “You ready to try again?” He asked me.

That made me feel a lot better, actually. Like I hadn’t screwed up beyond repair. It was a learning process. I could try again, swinging wide this time to avoid that ditch, as I now knew was necessary.

And so that’s what I did. I got on the truck, and I pulled out onto the road, and this time, I did not hit the ditch.

Shelly waved at me as I drove past. All the Hostetler wives waved at me. All the Hostetler children waved at Miss Emily, former school secretary and drama director, now apparently truck driver.

(The rest of the Hostetler crew, having enjoyed a show with their dinner, was already gone by this point. They’d squeezed past my truck as it blocked the road, and continued onward to the next job.)

Now I couldn’t understand why I, the person with a fear of driving and a fear of incompetence, had to face both fears in one day, and in front of so many people. But when I got home and told my family they laughed until their sides split. “You HAVE to blog about this!” They commanded.


I suppose the good news is that it does make a good story. And, after all, I probably won’t drive a truck into a ditch again.

10 responses to “An Unfortunate Incident Involving a Truck

  1. Nice job Emily!! Those experiences are NEVER forgotten!! A friend once told me that bad decisions always make good stories!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes consequences take years to arrive. Other times they are immediate. Like here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I admire your courage to blog about it. Thank God it turned out OK. As they say, “it could have been a lot worse.” And bless Darrell’s heart for trusting you to try again.

    Now you know about turning corners with trailers, and so do your readers.

    –LRM — Lois’ sis–met you at a garage sale in Hutch

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everett Yoder

    Thanks for being real & blog about it! Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not sure why I got emotional, but this blog brought me to tears! Probably, because I was imagining, what feelings you had! Though, I didn’t need to imagine, since you spelled them out very clearly! Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My dear Emmeline,
    It is not fair to call this a failure, at least not on your part. You are so competent and ready to do anything and good to work with that Darrell didn’t even think about teaching you some things about a big, long vehicle!
    i learned it the hard way. i took the pickup into Brownsville and swiped a parked vehicle as i was pulling into my spot.
    So cheers to our excellent harvest assistant! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Emily, you wrote “. . . it does make a good story”. Yes, it makes a wonderful story! Beyond that, you ended up conquering two fears on the same day and ended up succeeding on the second try. So now you are an experienced, skilled truck driver, knowing how to maneuver a loaded long-bed around a corner! When my brother was about fifteen, he got our tractor stuck in a deep mud hole in the cow pasture. Our uncle stood on the sidelines and called out instructions to him, “Slam it into reverse! Good job. Now gun it! Don’t let up!” Or whatever. After my brother succeeded in getting the tractor out of the muck, our uncle told him, “Now swing around and drive back into the mud hole and get the thing out again on your own.” Well, he did so, and in that learning process gained a sense of success and confidence that lasted a lifetime. Anyway, I really enjoyed your story and the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve done way too many similar things as I helped out on the farm. It was always difficult for me to understand how spectators materialized out of nowhere when such a thing occurred. 😦 I could so clearly identify with the need to hide in the combine that I was compelled to comment, although I never have before.
    Thank you for being humble enough to share a good story; it was usually at least a year before I had the nerve to fess up any of my unfortunate incidents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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