Angelia McLean: Country Mouse City Mouse 11-21-11
November 21, 2011
“Don’t you want to go and sit in it one last time?” asked my husband. “Na, I replied. It is time for it to go.” So went the conversation the night before the 1986 Mazda B2000 long bed pick-up truck was to be towed away and donated to Colorado Public Radio. I didn’t want to get sentimental.
The next morning, just as the nice people at CPR said, a tow truck arrived to take it away and all I had to do was hand over the key and the title. Sitting in first class on the truck bed already was a 1970 Buick Electra. Its classic royalty was going to a collector’s auction where ours was trailing behind on its way to a ‘regular’ auction which probably meant the scrap pile. As I watched it get hooked up to the tow I.V., the tears started forming. Really? Was I really going to cry? This is me, of course … So, I took some photos to capture its pathetic departure and watched it until I couldn’t see it anymore down our street. So ends an era.
An era it truly was. My husband bought the truck brand new in 1986 before we were married. I took pictures then of its shiny silhouette and embraced its new car smell. I also knew that my boyfriend must really love me to give me his brand spankin’ new truck to drive. I think it was much later that I innocently mentioned to him in passing that I drove it around, that first time, with the parking break on. And one time I experienced a shrub that jumped right out at me breaking off the truck’s antennae! He still married me. So, let the truck adventures begin! Little did it know what indentured servitude it would face.
Moving furniture across the country was one of the big ones. Wisconsin to Illinois and Pennsylvania, Ill., to Pennsylvania, Pa., to Colorado, Colorado to Minnesota, Minnesota to Colorado, Colorado to Texas, Texas to Colorado and all the house moves in between. Sometimes it had a garage, most of the time it didn’t. It carried post college stuff, newly married stuff, and shortly after, baby stuff. During one of these moves it carried a vacuum cleaner which went airborne out of the truck bed to land indignantly on the side of the highway. It had traveled in over a dozen states, gotten pulled over for speeding, smacked in its axle while minding its own business, had its stereo stolen, sat in rain, sleet and snow (not to mention hail) and been in numerous Google street views. All this before it reached young adulthood!
It was the little truck that could. And we definitely pushed it to its limits. The variety of items it hauled is endless – baby grand piano, a pumpkin tossing trebuchet, musical equipment, sand, gravel, building materials, bicycles, suitcases and a variety of small farm animals and children. There were times it was the only vehicle we had and all six of us would squeeze into it some way or other. It carpooled to school, loaned to friends and was lovingly climbed upon and bathed by many a small child. Whether it lived in the city, suburb or country, it worked.
Like us as we age, things begin to not work as well. So was it for the truck. Its heater never shut off so summers were a little hotter and there was no air conditioning. Eventually winters were tough because even the perpetual heater tired out. The radio didn’t work anymore, the seat needed serious repairs and it had numerous holes leaking vital fluids. Like old joints, the steering became stiff and cranky and its bed began to be ravaged by its worst enemy – rust. We often prayed to the car gods that it would pass emissions so we would not be faced with expensive repairs. But all good things come to an end and so it was for our dear friend. When the repairs cost more than the truck, it’s time to think about letting go. And that’s how it ended up at a Colorado Public Radio auction. I tried not to imagine it as one of those squished, flattened cars on its way to the junk man.
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What are the chances that my husband would see his dear truck out and about, parked at the local Home Depot store? Could it be? Yes, its true! Someone had purchased it, given it some TLC and it now was on its second life! It was as if it had been given a hip replacement, Botox and had serious mouth to mouth resuscitation.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. The truck has a new life and someday, too, it may sit in honor, on the tow truck bed off to a collector’s auction. But even if not, we will take solace in knowing that it had had a meaningful and productive life way beyond what we had ever imagined a quarter of a century ago.