Dashboard Confidential – August/September 2020

Granpappy and Nurse Nancy

August-September 2020

Dave Sweetman

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A bunch of years ago, I worked with a driver everyone knew as Granpappy. He was truly one of the hardest working guys I have ever known, and he never backed down from a challenge, be it driving, loading or helping others load. And, he was a genuine good guy. Too good, actually.

Granpappy was also a genuine BS artist of the finest order. He would mix in enough truth to every “Granpappy story” to make it believable. To his credit, he could remember every detail of his former stories so he would be able to tell the same story, even years later, without missing a detail. I think that he told the same stories so many times that he believed them himself. But he was so likable no one ever condemned him for it, as it was just his nature. The boss used to say that you could tell he was BS’ing if his lips were moving.

For years, I have always had photo business cards made with a picture of my truck and contact info for customers and friends. Granpappy asked for several of my new cards, as his grandson loved the trucks. I handed him several cards and never thought much of it. Until later.

Many moons ago, there was a terrible hurricane in South Florida. Emergency evacuation centers were set up, as well as FEMA aid stations. Granpappy got involved in moving generators to the various aid areas over the course of several weeks, providing a great public service. We didn’t hear much from him for a while, as he kept busy doing the generator shuffle.

Roll forward a few weeks, and I was making my usual morning check call from California. One of the ladies in the office told me that I had gotten a letter from a Florida postmark and that it smelled pretty. I told her to open it, as I really do not have any secrets anyway. Inside were several Polaroid pictures of an attractive young lady posing with one of our trucks wearing only a bikini bottom. There was also a steamy love letter written by Nurse Nancy saying what a great time we had, and she could not wait for my return to Florida.

The only trouble was, I had not been to Florida in more than a year. I also was married. I do not know any Nurse Nancy. It could not have been me. But, my claims of innocence went unheard, and the rumor mill had me tried and convicted. The letter was addressed to me, and the pictures proved my guilt until a few days later, when I got to the office. I had told my (late) wife the whole story, and she thought it was hilarious. Fortunately, she knew me better.

The letter from Nurse Nancy still smelled pretty, and the photos were an eye opener, to be sure.

One detail immediately jumped out at me. The lovely lady in the photos was posing next to one of our trucks and the truck number was clearly visible. It was not my truck. It was not my truck number. It was my pal Granpappy’s. His number was up, that wasscally wabbit. My innocence was restored and, just as the office was getting a big laugh, who pulls up out front but my friend and alter-identity – Mr. World Famous Granpappy.

We had a talk. I was not happy. It didn’t take me long to figure out what had happened. He had used my name cards, introduced himself as me and had a hot time in South Florida. It seemed that generators were not the only thing being hustled. Granpappy at first denied it until I showed him the letter and photos with his truck number along with the Florida-postmarked envelope.

I had him cornered. You are so busted, you jerk.

“No. No, it’s all a misunderstanding,” he said.

The more he lied, the more he squirmed, trying to play innocent. Just then the phone rang in the warehouse and the lady who was office manager called down on the P.A., “Dave, phone call from Nurse Nancy. Nevermind, Dave. The call is for Granpappy.” Everyone cracked up. And I will say again: busted!

I don’t get it. Some days, I don’t want to be me, why would anyone else want to be me? On second thought, I answered my own question.

Happy trails, and I’ll see you down the road. LL

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