Ferret: icon of trucking industry
THE trucking industry is not big on icons.
Lindsay Fox may be regarded as an icon by the larger community but to this industry he is just another truckie - a sentiment I'm sure Mr Fox would whole-heartedly agree with.
Many years ago I worked for Channel 9, Perth.
It was owned back then by Laurie Kiernan. Laurie's background was the trucking business.
It was obviously successful because it enabled him to buy a television station.
The media world referred to him as 'The Lucky Truckie'. As far as Laurie was concerned, he was just a truckie.
I had a phone call the other day from one John Moran. You, the reader would know John by his other moniker, The Ferret.
The Ferret has just turned 80 and if this industry has its icons, he would be well up the totem pole.
Ferret kept this industry entertained for decades, via this and other publications, with both his wit and his wisdom.
His knowledge of the trucking industry and the people in it are second to none.
Along with his writing, Ferret is the patron of many Convoy's for Kids around the country.
Still spritely for an old bugger, he loves packing up the caravan and heading for truck related events around the country with his adored wife, Margo.
Commencing his writing career with another trucking title, Ferret walked out the door when an upstart deputy editor told him that his words "weren't proper English".
He was welcomed with open arms by Big Rigs and wrote in these pages for a time until one day the editor told him that regretfully he would have to let him go as he was not a qualified journalist and the other 'qualified' journalists weren't happy.
I hasten to add that this was in the days before our current ownership (which is just as well because I'd be out of a job too).
As Ferret puts it: "I write - therefore I am (a writer)".
His style resounded with the readers, who made his columns the most popular of any in the titles in which he was published.
Ferret continues to be bemused and humbled by the obvious esteem in which he is held.
He related a story of attending a function of which he was patron.
A couple came up to him and sheepishly asked if he was Ferret.
They then, even more sheepishly, asked if it would be okay if they could have a photo taken with him.
They heard he would be at the do and had flown over from New Zealand just to meet him.
"Couldn't bloody believe it," he said.
He and I have met just once - at the Brisbane Convoy for Kids - a couple of years ago.
Like the NZ couple, I asked if we could be photographed together as I am a great admirer of his writings.
To my surprise and pleasure, he returned the compliment.
The photo sits on my desk to this day and we keep in touch as like-minded blokes tend to do.
Ferret gave away his columns some years ago, turning his talents to poetry and travelling around this great land for the inspiration he has always garnered from all of you trucking blokes and gals out there.
Happy birthday Ferret, me old mate.
Although you don't believe it, you are an icon of this industry and we would be much poorer without the sage words that you have bestowed upon us over the years.