Ten years ago, my husband fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning an old truck.
His prize wasn’t quite as old as he would have liked, but it suited the purpose and pocketbook just fine. It was a 1986 GMC Sierra stepside longbed with running lights.
He says he bought it for its aesthetics.
“I like the look of old trucks,” he said. “You ask anybody who sees the truck and they’ll guess it’s at least 10 years older than it really is. Even when I saw it, I thought it was older than it was. …The thing that impressed me the most the first time I got in the truck, I looked down and saw the clock. It working and the time was right.”
And we’re not talking about one of those fancy digital clocks. Right there in the middle of the dashboard is a rather large analog clock. One day around 4:17 at some point in the last ten years, the old faithful clock stopped working, but the truck rides on.
Gentle reader, please understand that this truck is not, with an emphasis on the not, a showpiece. Instead, it’s a slightly banged-up-original-paint-job-old-truck. My husband has added the region’s requisite upside-down Delcambre Reeboks between the cab and the bed — and some fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror.
Yet, through the years, every time one of our “dependable” vehicles has broken down or had problems, it’s the old white truck that we count on.
Truth be told, we don’t drive it often. Most of time the truck sits near the back of our yard, watching boats head down the Vermilion. Compared to the tiny car I typically drive, the truck is such a large ride that I feel like I’m in a parade and should consider tossing beads to the folks along the roadside when I’m in it.
However, there’s one thing that happens almost every time we take the truck anywhere. It happens in the grocery store parking lot. It happens at busy intersections. It happens at church. It happens at school. It happens at football games.
Nearly every time we drive that truck somewhere, a man — usually one getting close to middle age — approaches us and says, “If you’re looking to sell that truck, let me know. I’m interested.”
We’ve never been looking to sell that truck, but there’s something about an old beat up pickup truck that must invite men of a certain character to feel that it’s their public service duty and responsibility to take a truck like that off of someone else’s hands.
I can see it in their eyes. There’s this strange sense of reverse Antique’s Roadshow — like they’re thinking, “These folks have no idea what they’ve got on their hands here. I’m the one who could properly appreciate this old truck and give it the home it deserves.”
For sure, it’s a truck that deserves a name.
The truck comes up in conversation more than you’d think, and when it does, my husband repeats the old saying about the only thing better than owning a truck is having a friend who owns a truck. In that spirit, at least nine friends have used it to move their belongings from one side of town to the other or for a few days while their car was in the shop.
“But that saying is not necessarily true,” my husband said. “A friend with a brand new, shiny truck may not let you borrow it to move your beds, bikes or books across town. However, I tell my friends that even if you have to haul a load of manure and barbed wire, I’ll still lend you my truck.”
Lucky for me, he’s a man as good as, maybe better than, his truck.