These days my dad drives a fancy, air-conditioned, Sirius radioed, plush vehicle that is difficult to call a truck.
But for the first 12 years of my life, he drove a truck that was old before I was born. Everyone I knew called my dad’s truck by name, The Blue Goose.
The Blue Goose was not a fancy ride.
The springs came through the seats. You had to straddle them just so to avoid injury. The dents were too many to number. The windows never fully closed.
By the time I was 12, there was nothing cool about pulling up somewhere, hanging on for dear life in the passenger seat of a 1949 banged-up GMC pick-up truck.
But my dad loved that truck.
When I was in kindergarten, I didn’t mind The Blue Goose. That year, my mom went to college early every morning. My dad got me ready for school – which explains the Orphan Annie, scraggly pigtail, mismatched look I sported. We lived in a small rented house in what we called, “the country.” Every morning, my dad and I would load up in The Blue Goose and sing all the way to kindergarten.
We sang the same song – over and over.
Oh, let the sunshine in.
Face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose, and frowners never win.
Open up your heart, and let the sun shine in.
We sang loud, and we sang proud.
During that year of early morning rides in The Blue Goose, I had no idea my father couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
When I do the math and realize my dad was 27 at that time, I marvel that life for our family worked as well as it did. It was 1968. Driving down the highway in The Blue Goose with his four-year-old daughter was a long way from Woodstock.
Even still, our family grew, and The Blue Goose was there for every milestone.
Seven years later, one Saturday morning, our family puttered around the house. To no surprise, the 24-year-old vehicle required a bit of maintenance. My dad worked on it all that morning. When he finished, he closed the hood and walked to the storage room.
My six-year-old brother was left sitting on the giant, curvy, chalky hood amidst my father’s tools.
I was riding my bike nearby when I heard the series of strange sounding whacks.
I saw my father running back to see what the commotion was.
My brother continued sitting on the truck’s hood, holding my father’s hammer.
“Robin, what are you doing?” my dad yelled fiercely.
My brother twisted around, away from the windshield of the truck, to answer.
“Killing flies,” he said calmly.
And there, we could all see the results of my brother’s efforts — five near-perfect starburst fractures in The Blue Goose’s windshield. Those blows were the last of many The Blue Goose endured.
We got a new truck shortly thereafter.
Sadly, The Blue Goose hasn’t been seen since.
Bless that truck.