The New Walden Lives in Corinth, MS

Timothy Wayne Bradley, Tim for short, lounges back on his couch, barefoot and content, in his one-bedroom-apartment as I prepare to delve into his life as a truck driver.
“Are you sure you’ve got the right person for this? It’s gonna be like pulling teeth to get any answers worth getting from me,” Mr. Bradley said.
Born and raised in Corinth, MS, life was extremely different for someone growing up in a lower middle class family, especially one with six children. “I was about as middle as you could get with six kids,” Bradley said. “I had two older brothers, one older sister, one younger brother, and one younger sister. We had everything we needed but we definitely weren’t the rich kids in school.”
His father was a truck driver and his mother helped run a farm supply store, which Bradley went to work in when he was only twelve-years-old. Selling everything from fencing and corral equipment to worker protection gear, Bradley was responsible for keeping it all inline while his older brother and mother worked the store and assisted the customers.
“I never really messed up growing up, or at least I don’t think I did,” Bradley said. “I normally just went along with whatever they were doing. However, I was not, in any way, involved in that car getting burned up. I don’t care what my brothers say.”  One day two of Bradley’s siblings were smoking a marijuana joint when their mother came outside. One of the siblings, each blames the other, threw the joint in the glove compartment, which set fire to the car. It wasn’t until a few years ago that she heard the true story from one of the grandchildren.
“Are you kidding,” asked Neal Bradley, Tim Bradley’s son. “I barely know anything about my dad at all, let alone what happened when he was a kid. All I know is that he managed to never really get in trouble for anything because he was never one of the outspoken kids.”
Being the notorious quiet kid of his family, as told by other family members, Bradley went through school without much excitement. It was in later years that his naturally frugal means of living helped to excite his life and fill it with stories worth being told.
After graduating high school, Bradley went on to attend Northeast Community College in pursuit of a Business degree. “I chose business as a major for the same reason that most everyone else does,” Bradley said. “It was the typical major to choose when you had no idea what you wanted to do with your life. I never had any real intentions of using it. It was meant to be a fail-safe.”
After attending there for three years he went on to attend the University of North Alabama in completion of his degree. After graduating from North Alabama, Bradley returned home to coach Little League baseball for his little brother’s team. That was where Bradley was to meet his wife.
“Well, her little brother and mine were on the same team and that was how we met,” Bradley said. “Everything just kind of fell into place, even though her folks hated me and even tried to move away from Corinth in order to get her away from me.”
Bradley has yet to use his degree, it was during his summers while he was in college and other holidays that he began his trek into the truck driving world. Originally starting with cotton, which Bradley’s father also carried, he has carried numerous products, including natural gases.
“I really enjoy what I do,” Bradley said. “It’s not as lonely a job as a lot of people think. One of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is because I’m not tied down to one building by my job. It’s the most appealing thing about it.”
Bradley didn’t always drive trucks for a living. At one point he was working for a surgical doctor that actually saved his hand one day on the job. “I thought I did pretty good,” Bradley said. “I didn’t freak out nearly as much as the guy that I was working with. That machine damn near cut my hand off, or at least that’s what it looked like. Either way, the doc stitched up my hand and it works just fine….’cept for a little bit over there.”
When Bradley went back to truck driving, he started up his own business at one point. It was after a bus trip to Texas for an unsuccessful truck auction that one of Bradley’s more well known stories occur.
Frugal to the point that it could endanger his life, Bradley decides to hitchhike back to Corinth after being unable to purchase a truck at a truck auction in Lubbock, TX. In addition to being picked up by random truckers, one of Bradley’s rides consisted of a pimp, complete with periwinkle blue suit and limo. To add to the stereotype of someone’s pimping ability, the limo that Bradley was picked up in apparently came standard with hookers, as well. “He was friendly, for the most part,” was all Bradley had to say to me on the subject.
Bradley’s family had a little bit more to say on the subject of his hitchhiking adventure. “Oh God, I laughed so hard when Tim first told me about that trip,” said Keith Bradley, his older brother. “The part that was my favorite was when Tim told me about how the pimp had over-shot where he needed to be. Apparently they were at some truck stop that had a restaurant, or something, in it when the law came in. It was about half-a-hair later that the pimp ran out of the place, hoes following at his heels, with just the simple explanation of ‘Gotta go’ and they left him right there!”
While Bradley doesn’t know how much longer he would like to carry materials for Central Transport, a company where he has worked for the past five years, he does intend to do some form of counseling when he retires.
“I’ve done several mission trips all over the continent,” Bradley said. “I went down to the coast several times after [Hurricane] Katrina hit back in 2006. It’s a kind of work that I feel I can truly be proud of.”
It was on his mission trip to Puerto Escondido, Mexico that his son accompanied him. “The main point of the trip was to bring medical help to the people in isolated villages in the mountains,” said Bradley’s son. “The mission base was actually like a resort. The ocean front looked as if it had never been touched by human feet. There was even a free medical center for those who chose to donate their time to [help] the people for an extended period of time.”
“It’s one of the things I do that I feel actually makes a difference,” Bradley said. “It’s the main reason I choose to live the way I do. I don’t have the big T.V. or anything like that. It doesn’t feel right spending money on pointless things when I know that others don’t have half of what I do.”
As Bradley stood up and shuffled his work-worn feet through his carpet, stretching again after sitting still for so long, he said “I’m perfectly happy with where and how I live. It isn’t the amount of money that people make, it’s how happy they are using what they make.”

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