Santa gives DOTs 'reindeer poop' in trucker Bill Weaver's new Christmas song
Monday, December 16, 2013
by Aprille Hanson
Editor's note: This article was first published in the Dec. 15-31 edition of The Trucker newspaper on stands now.
On the night before Christmas, Santa was put Out of Service. So, high up on the rooftops, children “heard the sounds of the Detroit diesel engine instead of reindeer hooves.” There were big ‘ole “dually tire tracks on snowy roof tops, no doubt from a big old truck.”
This is the story of “How the Truck Drivers Saved the Christmas Holiday,” a song written by trucker Bill Weaver, 46, of Flippin, Ark. Married just two weeks prior to his interview with The Trucker and with a brand new grandbaby in his life, Weaver said he was ready to spread some Christmas cheer with his song.
“I wrote the whole thing yesterday,” Weaver said on Nov. 25. “I’ve had a pretty tough life: I raised two kids by myself for years. I don’t want to say I’ve been unhappy, but because of Carolann my wife, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m in the Christmas mood this year. I thank God for everything I’ve got.”
Weaver, a trucker for 28 years, drives a 2007 International and hauls hazardous materials throughout 48 states.
He said he enjoys driving a truck because of “the open road, the scenery, the camaraderie with the other drivers out here. Plus the fact that it gives you a great appreciation of home.”
For Weaver, home wasn’t always the easiest place to be and his Christmas spirit was a bit grinchy. For eight years, Weaver was an officer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Flippin Police Department in North Central Arkansas. He struggled to balance time as a cop, trucker and being a single parent to his children, who were just 3 and 8 years old when their mother left.
“I did the best I could with the ball of clay God handed me,” Weaver said, adding bluntly that he was not the best dad to his children because of time constraints. “I got the rest of my life to make up for that. My kids are real understanding.”
During his time as a police officer, Weaver was faced with numerous heart-breaking scenarios, “nothing you’d want to print.”
“Seeing children hurt, burned up houses and such, that’s why I got out of it,” Weaver said. “I’ve always hated drugs; I was a really good drug cop.”
Besides busting up drug rings, Weaver wanted to help criminals turn their lives around because, as he put it, “everyone has it in their hearts to do right.”
Once, Weaver said he and his wife ran into a man in Walmart that he had arrested on drug charges.
“He and his wife were strung out on meth, cooking it and selling it. I told my wife, ‘This is fixing it to be a bad deal.’” He was worried for their safety, he said. “He came toward me, and gave me a big old hug. He had gotten out of prison and told me, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”
It was his police training and compassionate heart that has come in handy out on the roadways more than once, Weaver said.
“A guy that I was talking to, running with up in Utah, found out his step-daughter had been killed in a car wreck while he was out on the road. He was by his truck crying, I felt compelled to go over and see what was wrong,” Weaver said. “He told me he needed to get home, he lived in Alabama somewhere … A person is dangerous at that time,” grieving and driving a tractor-trailer, he said.
To comfort the man, Weaver kept in contact and ran with him until he reached Salt Lake City, where the man’s company had arranged a flight home.
“I was just trying to keep him calmed down,” Weaver said. “It tears you up, but you learn how to block it out. It’s a big old world, but we’re here to make people smile.”
One way Weaver has learned how to cope with the sadness of life is through music, starting at just five years old.
“My uncle and daddy bought me an old flattop guitar at a flea market,” Weaver said. “I was always watching ‘Hee Haw,’ ‘The Porter Wagoner Show’ … listening to Jerry Reed, Tom T. Hall and their story-telling in their songs. I was hooked. I love that ballad type story-telling which is mostly what trucking songs are.”
While Weaver was in a band with other police officers called “Southern Pride,” his music has been for the most part a creative outlet.
“I’ve written everything. Poetry, southern- rock type songs, mainly sitting here in my truck,” Weaver said, adding he’s written at least 300 songs. “The majority of it is trucking issues, things I hear the drivers talking about out here. Things that go through my heart and mind — how tough it is being gone, how tough I know it is on my wife.”
Inspiration often strikes while driving and when his truck is stopped, the sleeper berth becomes his recording studio.
“I’ll write them in my head going down the road. Staring at the interstate you have to have a clear mind and I have a good memory,” Weaver said. When he’s stopped, “of course I get the guitar out and work out the key and everything I want to do it in.”
“How the Truck Drivers Saved the Christmas Holiday,” tells the story of Santa being stopped by Department of Transportation officials and needs the help of a trucker named Ken Jones — a friend of Weaver’s — who rounds up thousands of truck drivers to deliver the toys for Mr. Claus.
“With the pop of the clutch and the turn of the wheel we was heading toward the midnight sun / With a thousand fellow truckers going to cover Santa’s run / ‘Cause you know us drivers get it done, we work all night and day / That’s how the truck drivers saved the Christmas holiday.”
While truckers are sure to snicker at the DOT shutting down Santa’s sleigh, Weaver is clear that it’s all in good fun.
“[DOT officials] have a tough job. The DOT needs to be out here taking unsafe drivers off of the road … DOT has done a good job with that,” Weaver said. “I think they’d laugh at it … I always liked those songs that poked fun at police officers when I was a cop.”
However, the DOT has found its way into more than just one of Weaver’s songs, particularly about the new Hours of Service regulation.
“I truly think overall [the government] needs to lay off the industry as a whole and quit trying to make more requirements,” Weaver said.
But the DOT isn’t the only group he takes a fun jab at in his latest Christmas tune — he throws in a line for those under-dressed drivers.
“It’s happy and kind of upbeat. It mentions things like the driver coming down the chimney in flip flops. You look at this person and think, ‘this person is not capable of doing anything,’ but they can stick a trailer in a hole” that’s two sizes too small so to speak. “It pokes a little fun at truckers as well as DOT in a good way,” he said.
Good news for all the kiddos of the world — the drivers drove all night and delivered all the toys on time. So what exactly do the truckers and the DOT get from Old Saint Nick?
“He gave all the drivers a fresh thermos of coffee and the keys to a brand new Pete / And a special set of snow tires for driving high up on the roofs / And all the DOTs got a Christmas stocking that was full of reindeer poop.”
The best part is that it’s kid-friendly, Weaver said, adding, “The only thing remotely dirty about that song is reindeer poop.”
It certainly isn’t the last song that this musical trucker plans to write. After several messages from drivers wanting him to make a CD, Weaver said he plans to release the album “Every Mile I Drive” this month and hopes to distribute it in truck stops. It will be available on iTunes.com and Google Play. It can also be purchased through a PayPal payment to firstname.lastname@example.org for $9.99 and be mailed immediately, with no extra charge for postage, Weaver said. A CD can also be ordered by mailing a check to P.O. Box 1822 Flippin, Ark., 72634. Weaver said he plans to donate a portion of CD sales to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Beyond this Christmas song, Weaver said his dream is to dedicate a song to his granddaughter Allyson, born Oct. 30.
“I’m not used to writing much sensitive stuff and it’s got to be perfect for her,” Weaver said. “Once I get her up and walking, I can teach her how to fish and play guitar.”
What is most special about this Christmas song is the emotional healing it brought to Weaver, who said he has always struggled with the holiday since his father’s death on Dec. 16, 1993.
“Every Christmas has never been the same without him and it won’t be. But I’m just excited about it this year,” Weaver said. “I just thank God for the first time in my life that I’m truly happy. And that’s part of Christmas — it’s the love of family and just being happy with your life.”
To hear How the Truck Drivers Saved the Christmas Holiday, click here.
Pick up a printed copy of The Trucker at TA/Petro truck stops or call 800-666-2770 ext. 5029 for information about an at-home subscription.