THE OLD FARM TRUCK by Dave Wieder
I own a vintage 1961 work truck that has been with me, it feels like, forever. It’s a good old vehicle but has a lot of hard miles on it. I’m hoping that it will last me for a few more years, but it is showing lots of signs of wear.
Last night, exhausted, I fell asleep in the front seat as I frequently do. In the morning when I awoke, I noticed that it was getting a little harder to get the darn thing going. But once again, with enough motivation and determination, I was able to get that old motor to sputter to life and I wobbled out of the garage and headed down the road. I had lots of work to do, helping neighbours, running errands, trying to help out where I could. No time to worry about this thing breaking down.
The lights on it are not as bright as they used to be, the horn barely makes a sound and there is an odd smell in here that is hard to describe. I broke the frame last year trying to accomplish too much, and everyday I’m reminded by the creaks and groans it gives as I just try to keep it going. Once the rust starts to set in it can be tough to keep all the parts moving.
A couple of weeks ago the police pulled me over and made me take it in and replace the windshield. It was the original glass, but had gotten hazy and full of little pits from stones thrown up from the many miles on bad roads. Really, it was getting hard to see clearly and I kept on making mistakes on which road I was suppose to be going down. Seemed like I was always lost, going round and round in circles. Some days I was amazed that I was able to find my way back home. Sure wished that I had had a reliable guide to show me the way during those times. It can be hard to try and figure the way out on your own without a good navigator and co-pilot.
Not surprised that while it was in the shop my mechanic friend noticed that It was dribbling fluid from the windshield washer hose, and I told him that that had been coming on for some time now. It always seemed to work alright during the daytime, but for some reason it got worse at night and I had to put a pad under it to soak up the spills. I didn’t want it messing up the floor of the garage.
They also mentioned that the side and rear view mirrors were pretty dirty. They said that I would be doing myself a favour to spend a little time each day to give them a little polishing before I set out down the road. That turns out to be very good advice. I needed to replace a broken mirror with a new one and found it strange to find a sticker on it that said “be careful, as things may not exist as seen in mirror”.
I shouldn’t complain. It does all the things I need it to do for me, and while it’s not very fancy, it has been pretty reliable overall. I take it to work, fill it with fuel and do an oil change once in awhile. It breaks down sometimes, but I can usually get it fixed and keep on going. I had gotten into the habit of washing it sometimes and putting some nice air fresher in it, but as it gets older I can’t be bothered as much. One morning I had been driving past the grocery store and saw a poster for an old truck convention taking place close to home. I had attended these in the past and knew that all the old truck collectors could speak my language and it always felt pretty comfortable being around those who were on the same page as me. Everyone always seemed to be in agreement. So I got out my duct tape, number 9 farm wire, some automotive repair body filler and cover-up paint. I was going to make this truck appear like it was just out of the factory. After a whole lot of work I took it down to the convention. Sure enough, from a distance these folks thought I had shown up with a brand new truck with a smooth body, nice paint and no bad smells. And they all agreed on it. Yes, it appeared to be a great looking vehicle with no issues and lots of miles left on it. Without looking too closely they thought that it appeared to be in perfect shape and I even received a blue ribbon for how nice it looked. But you and I know that in reality, under all that appearance, it was really just all duct tape, body filler and many layers of paint holding it all together. It was a pretty convincing illusion, but I knew what the real deal was. I have to remember to give these folks a good ribbing when they find out what the truth of the matter is.
The other funny part of the story was that the truck had changed so much over the years, with replacing old parts and all, that it wasn’t even close to the original anymore and had worn off all its stickers and labels. I didn’t know whether to call it a Chevrolet, or a Honda! But everyone at the convention was in agreement that they should call it a Chevrolet, so that is the label they stuck on it. Anywhere else they might have called it something completely different. To them it was a good old Chevrolet, but from my side I didn’t know what to call it anymore!
I must say that at times when I drive past the truck dealership I have a thought of trading in for a newer, different model. Those new trucks are so nice. Great bodies, new paint, no clunks, leaks or weird smells and they appear that they could really make me a lot happier if I owned one. But, you know it’s hard to let something go that you’ve been so attached to your whole life and it would be hard to see it gone. So I’ll carry on the way I always have, knowing that it’s days are numbered. I’ll sneak out as many miles as I can, do as much work as possible and just try to enjoy the ride despite all the little problems. After all, I knew what the deal was when we got together in the first place. Hopefully the dealership will grant me a new one once I’ve worn this one out. I’ll have to see what they have on the lot at the time, as it’s possible to land up in something totally different. I’ll do my best to get into another Chevy if I can. Anyways, I need to keep rolling as I still have soo much work left to do.
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