This is “A Pup In A Truck” and it’s about two of my favorite things.
I thought I loved dogs. All my life they were so much fun. Our first two growing up were outside dogs. The thought of them in our living room or roaming the halls was never even a fantasy. If a harsh New Mexico storm kicked up, fierce rain or maybe a heavy snow the dogs were allowed one night in the washroom. Early the next morning they were back out in the yard – but the smell of wet dog?!? Oh my goodness – pretty sure the paint peeled a little every time. So years later when I was back on a college break my folks met me at the door with our two big dogs pawing at the screen door then bounding off to tear around the living room. Mom explained in hushed tones “…well honey it gets kind of quite around here without you and your sister and they’re such sweethearts.” So I was raised with a deep love for dogs and thought I was a real animal lover in general, until I met my wife. She takes it to an ethereal level and our house is full of furry friends on the couches, in the beds and we love them. But really who doesn’t love coming home from a rough day and your dog is SO happy to see you “Where have you been, oh I really, really missed you, don’t do that again, I love you, you’re my best friend!” A friend of ours recently joked to my wife “If this reincarnation thing turns out I want to come back as your dog…man what a life.” So I love dogs.
And The Truck.
My bucket list dream car is a little atypical. I once drove a buddies top down, uber-tech, roaring animal sports car and frankly I didn’t like it. Add to that the thought of spending as much as a starter home on something with seats to get you from point A to B and it just rubs me wrong. Not that ones in the cards, but still. My dream car is an old truck. Big vinyl bench seat so my sweetie can slide over close. A plastic steering wheel and the funky 70’s aroma of crudely burned fuel and oil. It’s pretty close to that first whiff of a VW bug. Love it. My best memories are riding in my Dad’s work truck. We loved punching those clunky cartridges in his 8 track and singing loud. Always country. Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline. Singing about broken hearts, hard times, lovely ladies and strong men. The music made the days fly by as I worked at his side every summer since I was old enough to help. Dad was a master craftsman and deeply cared about making things right. “Bud slow down…try that again and this time hold your wrist a little bit to the right…there ya go…that’s it. Beautiful!” He went into business for himself because the boss man was rushing him and his crew to get the work done faster. “Jack you’ve gotta move on and cut some corners – it just doesn’t matter if we have to come back later and fix everything.” After months of loosing sleep, he quit. The boss offered him a huge raise, more time off – everything he could think of but Dad was done.
Long before Tom Cruise in Top Gun shouted “…I gotta a need…I gotta a neeeed for speed” my Dad and I were ripping down dirt roads on the outskirts of town, ignoring the speed limit and shooting dusty rooster tails high into the sky. I learned to drive on those roads. Dad would happily whistle as he stared out the window, relaxing on a Saturday morning and I would take the chance to slowly press the gas harder and harder until he’d lazily say “…ok bud slow it down a little.” When I would steal a glance he was always smiling. But by this time we were roaring down the road. Speeding was fine but he did have a line and it was sliding corners. Slides were off limits so I had to do those experiments on my own years later. One of them landed me in a ditch on the way to pick up a date. I was so shook up I called my folks from the movie theater and they made me come home – right then. Take my date home – before we saw the movie – and drive the 45 minutes back out to the country. It slowed me down a little…but not for long.
Back to my Dad and his love for craftsmanship one morning he shocked me stupid when he asked me to help him drill holes in the dashboard of his truck. I was stunned. What in the world was he doing? Now I know the stereotype of truck driving folks who will duct tape a door together or patch a busted tail light with Taco Bell wrappers with the highest goal of keeping the heap rolling down the road. So think if you think of the opposite of that - that’s my Dad. Back to him desecrating his truck with roughly bored holes and I’m just going nuts. “Hang in their bud and you’ll see the method to my madness.” I soon saw he was installing a nautical drink holder that swiveled and pitched. Brilliant. Almost everyday his buddies and customers would comment on it as they smiled and shook their heads but he never spilled another drop of coffee.
I love trucks.