Posts Tagged ‘Tundra’

Riding in Trucks

Posted on: March 16th, 2012 by Donna 2 Comments

Most Saturdays when I was a little girl, I’d hike myself up into the cab of Daddy’s ugly green Dodge Power Wagon. Cracked, stiff seat leather scratched the backs of my bare legs. Cement, pipe tobacco, and wet dog smells swirled inside my nose, and made me sneeze until I used both hands to crank down the window.

By the time we turned off Fulton and onto Ridge Street, I’d traded places with my collie, Prince, and scooted close to my father. Prince stuck his long snout into the air and took long sniffs as his white ruff flattened against his shoulder. That big dog made a great wind break.

Close as I sat to him, Daddy’s hand brushed my leg as he shifted gears. Once he got in to third, the heater blasted hot air. I played at being tortured, holding my legs near the heat until they’d burn and I pulled back.

The best thing about riding in that truck involved singing our favorite songs. Daddy’s deep baritone voice filled the cab. My father owned a concrete products company, but he was educated as a music teacher. So, even though we weren’t at the piano, he critiqued my diction and tonality while we sailed along. Sixty years later, I still hear his voice, practice those techniques, and appreciate his lessons.

I don’t recall dating anyone who drove a truck in New York. When I married and moved to Texas though, I found truck country.  As a young nurse I went to deliver babies with Dr. Ron Paul in the late sixties and some of the seventies. We travelled between the hospital and the office in his blue truck. It was clean, had air conditioning, and cloth seats. On the way, Ron talked about inflation, burgeoning government, and our right to liberty. At first it was all over my head, but he was a patient teacher. I learned important premises in that little class room.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing young women in trucks with their men, sittin’ pretty and proud, even though seatbelts and bucket seats changed the geography a little. I once knew a couple in their seventies who rode in their truck joined at the hip. Whether going for groceries or fishing in the bay, she always sat there right next to him, like they were kids going to the drive-in movies. I find few things cuter than seeing a big cowboy hat on a dad and a small version perched on his little guy. I’ll admit to once following a mite sitting next to his hero down a dusty road for a ways. I still smile at the memory of them tilting their faces up to the sun, laughing together in that private, beautiful space of a beat-up old ranch truck.

Safety restraints encase me in our big white Tundra now. It’s our third truck. We tend to buy big, used, automatic ones, put ’em right to work, keep the oil changed, and drive them a couple hundred thousand miles more. They’ve hauled furniture, household goods and books, and the boxed-up trivia one collects in a long marriage. Not always the fanciest top-of-the-line models, but work horses doing a good job.

I swear I’m not moving again, but I still have fun riding along with my sweetie, reading aloud to him, both of us getting all caught up in a story. He says I haven’t really had fun since I didn’t ever sit on an overturned crate while he stood and drove a Divco milk truck on dates. It’s okay I missed part of his life and that truck.

I’m comfortable and easy in my place inside our Toyota cab. Whether I’m learning something new from the radio or another writer, or feeling the intimacy of my husband taking my hand for a minute, I feel blessed and loved. And, really, isn’t that what trucks are all about?