Shaindle’s Shpiel

By Shaindle Schmuckler | shaindle@atljewishtimes.com

Before there was a GPS, there was the CB radio.

In the good ol’ days, there weren’t smartphones, emails or texting; there were CB radios. I could connect with anyone and everyone who also had a CB, and almost everyone had one. It was

Shaindle Schmuckler

Shaindle Schmuckler

incredibly easy to use; anyone any age could become an accomplished CB user.

We did not have passwords; we had handles. I am sure no one will be surprised when I tell you what handle I chose. Between 1976 and 1981, I was known to one and all as “the lady silver bullet.” I am guessing my lead foot supported the bullet part of my handle. My girls’ handles were Cajun Queen, Connecticut Yankee, the Seeker and Little Bear. If you know my girls, you can guess whose handle belonged to whom.

Truckers all over these United States of America possessed a CB. And these truckers were always with me, keeping me safe, helping me navigate unfamiliar roads, cautioning me regarding the whereabouts of county mounties, plain brown wrappers and run-of-the-mill police working traffic.

Truckers and other CB folks kept my girls occupied on road trips. I did not have, nor did I need, a CD player or TV in my car. We had our CB radio to keep us warm and entertained. The girls loved announcing their handles, and the truckers loved chatting with them. Actually, when the girls announced their presence on the radio, all kinds of folks would respond.

A flat tire? No problem! Lost? No problem. Nearest gas station? No problem. Closest rest stop? No problem. Looking for a shortcut? No problem. As long as I had my trusty CB, no problem. The roads were safe, and hitchhikers were a common sight. There was trust.

Except that one time!

We were on a road trip, traveling south from Atlanta to Tampa, Fla. I was driving. My husband was in the death seat, otherwise known as the passenger seat — yes, he was a brave soul. Our girls and our “foster son” from Holland were in the car with me. We were chatting with truckers and with regular folk, having a grand old time. I picked up a CBer who was traveling north. We chatted on and off for many boring, flat miles. It was not beneath him to share a funny knock-knock joke with the girls. Sounded innocent enough. He shared his handle, asked me mine. Laughed and asked why that handle. I told him about my lead foot. We both laughed.

He told me he was heading up north. I responded that we were traveling to Florida. He said, “Like two ships crossing in the night.” I felt no fright. I had my man in the passenger seat and my big football-playing “son” in the back.

He told me he was in a dark-brown car at a certain mile marker heading north; I told him what I was driving south. Other drivers heard all this and chimed in.  For example, “I’m in a red corvette southbound at mile marker 120” or “I’m in a green pickup truck northbound at mile marker 180.” All very friendly. Suddenly I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a county mountie’s vehicle bearing down on me with lights flashing. I pulled over to the side of the highway, and he pulled over as well. He headed toward my side window with his book out. You know what book I am referring to, and it is not “Gone With the Wind.”

“Hi there, little lady,” he said. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” What did he expect me to admit, that I was speeding? So I said, as sweetly as a little lady would, “No, sir.”

He then informed me he was the CBer who was telling jokes to my babies, all the while eliciting just enough information from me to make it worth his while to turn his car around, head south and trap the Lady Silver Bullet. How rude!

Clearly he did not abide by the rules of the open road. Clearly he was having a great day. Clearly he believed he was gonna teach the little lady a lesson. My heart finally stopped racing. My adrenaline finally calmed down, but only after many miles and many un-little-lady-like expressions.

The moral of my story? There is no moral, except to say I am constantly checking my rearview mirror. Wouldn’t you if you were the Lady Silver Bullet? It’s not as if I can communicate with a trucker with my cellphone! Breaker, breaker, 1-9, I miss my CB radio.

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