Friday, January 7, 2011

That Old Truck

  When I was young, say 6. I can remember riding in my dad's truck. It is a 1970 Ford, F250, camper special. It like most of my father’s possessions was used when he bought it. It was only a year old and had just few miles on the odometer. I was sitting here, looking out the window at that old truck parked in front of my house. A thought occurred to me that no matter how many years will pass after the death of my father, that pickup will always be his. No matter who's name is on the title or if I were to paint it. It would still be my father’s truck.
  I suppose it is like a work of art. The painter or sculptor puts a lot into their work. My dad replaced the motor and transmission three times. The body is probably the only thing that is original on the truck. It has over half million miles on the odometer, but it will still start.
  I can remember riding to the dump hundreds of time. I always joke, that if I were on the way to the dump, I could let go of the steering wheel and the truck would find it own way to the dump.  Can a vehicle have a soul? If it were true this old truck would have such stories to tell.
  It could tell you about the first time that it pulled me out of the ditch, or the fourth. It could tell of all the times my dad put his shoes on and went out into the night and pulled someone out of a jam. That truck could also tell you about the trips across the country it took to tow someone home.
  We loaded a camper on its back and went on trips for a week at a time. Back when gas was 95 cents a gallon. Back when my parents had more time than money we would drive about 40 minutes away and stop in at a farmhouse to ask a rancher it would be alright if we camped on their property. In the 70’s, most people would say, “Yes.” Then spend ten minutes explaining the best place to camp. “Go up road and look for the break in the fence. Pull in there and head back to the tree line. Morning sunrise is just beautiful there.”
  Some people would even come out and have coffee with my father on there morning rounds. Some would bring wood with there tractor and we would have a campfire. Those were the good old days. The times we sat around the campfires tell each other a story. My dad crab walking on two legs with his hands above his head, moving  around the fire, jumping on his kids tickling them until they couldn’t stand it.
  I look back and ask myself, “What did that trip cost?” Ten bucks in gas. It cost nothing for camping for a week. Food but we would have had to feed ourselves anyway. Those trips cost us very little but meant so much. I have a camper. It isn’t the same one. I have been thinking lately that I want to load it up onto that old truck and ready it for a week of camping. Maybe we could camp on the shores of bumping lake. Maybe just drive it around a little see if it still has the legs for a longer trip.
  I am sure gas would be a factor. When I was last at the gas station it was three times as much.
  I am sure I would have trouble finding a free camping spot. This isn’t the 70’s and people don’t trust one another.
  I am sure time would be a factor. I work a forty hour job. I don’t work I don’t get paid.
  I can already see that it would be hard to recreate the past. Even if all the players were alive and I set the stage just right, it wouldn’t be the same. I believe that is it okay to dream about it, looking out sipping on a cup of Joe, admiring that old rusty truck.

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