A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Big-rig horns were a child’s delight

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


A few days ago, I watched as a young boy ran to the side of the road, one arm pumping up and down as an 18-wheeler approached. Three short blasts from the

vehicle’s air horn as it passed by made the boy jump up and down and laugh as he ran back into the yard to tell his dad how he had worked his magic on the truck’s driver.

The house I grew up in was located beside N.C. Highway 95, which later became Highway 97 when the interstate was completed. Traffic was always extremely heavy, but I remember running across those sandy fields whenever I heard the rumble of the engine of the “big” trucks, pumping my arm up and down as I ran, hoping that I would get near enough to the road for the driver to see me and pull the string that made the horn blow.

When Keith grew older, the two of us would try to outrace the other to make it happen and would do our happy dance when it worked.

My uncle Edward Kearney drove an 18-wheeler for the Miller Co. near Charlotte and there were times when his route would bring him by our house. If he didn’t have time to stop for a short visit, he would blow the horn in long blasts as he passed by night or day (the neighbors must have loved that at 2 a.m.). But, if he had time to stop by, he would let Keith and I climb up in that tall cab and pull the string to blow the horn before he left. We felt as though we were on top of the world when we did that.

I taught my children how to work that magic as we rode down the road when they were young. I can still hear their shrills of laughter when the driver made those horns give a quick blast of sound. There are some lessons that parents just need to teach their children for memory’s sake.

Please remember to thank a veteran for his or her service at every opportunity. It was that service to our country that allows us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

Jan Mills is The Enterprise’s customer service representative. Reach her at 252-478-3651 and jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com.