This column originally appeared in syndicated newspapers in the second and third week of August, 1976.
There are many people wondering today what CBers are like, what makes them tick, are they different from their fellow Americans.
The music which has emerged to reach best-seller lists and most-played on popular radio stations indicate that CBers are “folksy” and friendly. From the big hit by C.W. McCall, “Convoy” to Cledus Maggard’s “White Knight,” both telling a story about CBing with a touch of humor, to the current sad one: “Teddy Bear,” there is the single strain of togetherness among those who modulate.
A crippled lad, whose Daddy was a trucker and killed in a blinding snow storm wreck, yaks with a trucker on his father’s CB. The boy’s handle is “Teddy Bear.” He desperately wants to ride an 18-wheeler again. The trucker says his “freight can wait” and he U-turns to go to the boy’s home to give him that ride.
Upon arriving there, he finds that he wasn’t the only one monitoring channel 19. The block in front of the house is lined up with 18-wheelers giving “Teddy Bear” the rides he wanted so much. They, too, were expressing their compassion.
The ability to mobilize people to help in times of need is manifest all over the country. Wherever there are CBers. Not long ago in Snohomish, Wash., 19 CBers pitched in to help when the worst wintertime flooding in 50 years inundated the fertile Snohomish River Valley. According to The CB Times-Journal, the club members used their CB units 24 hours a day. They monitored Channel 9 for distress calls and used four channels to coordinate their rescue efforts. They went into action overnight and kept the endeavor going for an entire week. No money. No overtime pay. Just helping out.
In the Ohio River Valley, CBers from Pittsburgh to Parkersburg, W.Va., and from Columbus to Harrisburg, a base station is operated almost constantly by a watchful and helpful lady, Mrs. Jerry Hoit. Known throughout the area as “The Swami,” rarely a day passes when she has not handled a distress call.
Few have met her, but her smiling voice: “Break…break…this is The Swami lookin’ at ya’ on channel 10…come on back”…is truly famous. She has traced a trucker on the wrong medication by putting out a 10-33 and the relay help of a CBer in Nova Scotia, jawed a CBer who was “a little drunk” home without mishap; and by instant action saved the life of a little girl seriously hurt.
Attesting to this new spirit of comradeship, Gus, a St. Bernard dog, was on a training trip, learning to carry a backpack. High in the Sandia Mountains behind Albuquerque on La Luz trail, Gus’s feet became raw from the rock and gravel. He could no longer keep up.
Weighing over 200 pounds, Gus’ exhaustion and wounded paws literally flattened him. His owners skied to the nearest Forest Service phone. Through a relay with Albuquerque’s Citizen Band and Rescue Team, Gus was carried safely home to recuperate.
The exploits of CBers who do not even know each other, but who respond to a distress call with a singleness of purpose, reminds one of the pioneering days when covered wagons criss-crossed our country. Helping out was a way of life for those early settlers. CBing offers this same flavor and spirit in 1976.
The fun in ratchet-jawing is amplified with unit of purpose in helping out. Does this make CBers different than their fellow-Americans?
“Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine
“Convoy” by C.W. McCall
“White Knight” by Cledus Maggard