Ode to My Truck

The following is the third guest post from David Roberts, who is one of the best high school English Teachers in the land by day and a defender of all things awesomely manly by night. He also happens to be my brother-in-law.




Despite what Ford and Chevy might have us believe, a truck does not make a man. However, as a t-shirt my wife bought me says, “A man and his truck is a beautiful thing.”

Red, you turned twelve this past April. I remember the first day we met–what a surprise you were. I had no clue what was in store for us.

You took me to college that August, your first of many trips up and down the I-35 corridor between Dallas and OKC. All my worldly possessions–mostly clothes, but some keepsakes, too, and my bucket of cleaning supplies to give you your regular bath–were in the passenger seat and your bed. I was worried some of those items might fly out, but your lovely aerodynamics kept everything snug.

You turned heads on campus from the beginning. I had you “duded” up a little bit–headlight covers, tinted windows, subwoofers & amp. I didn’t know then, as I do now, that you didn’t need any embellishing. But you put up with my young ways.

I remember that time we crammed six or eight of us in the cab and bed for a trip to the lake. We were trying to avoid paying admission for more than one vehicle (the park charged by the car, not the person), and you were perfect for the occasion. That was to be a trend.

While at college, I also met my future wife. You took us on our first date, and we sat inside your cab for our first kiss. Years later, you would take us from the church after our wedding.

I also started mistreating you a bit on campus. I dinged you when I carelessly backed into a low fence post; I scratched you parking too close to a cedar tree.

But you were always so helpful. I lost count of how many times you helped my buddies–and even some mere acquaintances–move from apartment-to-house, house-to-house, dorm-to-apartment…it goes on. You’ve hauled sofas, freezers, trash, brush, computers, lawn mowers, and even a ping-pong table.

I’ve taken you to West Memphis, Arkansas; Houston, College Station, and too many small east Texas towns to count; you’ve been over hills, on the plains, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and even been the lone car on the road at two in the morning.

But the signs of aging are clear. You’ve got over 150,000 miles on you. Your dash is cracked to pieces, your air conditioner leaks on the floorboard, and only one speaker works. Your cruise control has a mind of its own, your seats are worn and faded, and you’re making a funny squeaking sound when I press the gas pedal. You don’t accelerate like you once did–hills give you trouble. I’ve had to rebuild your transmission, replace your windshield, repaint your hood and roof.

Yet, Red, you’re faithful. You’ve never left me broken down in a bad spot. When you’ve been inoperable–like the time your accelerator stuck and I had to turn off the ignition while you were still moving at 50 mph–it’s somehow been at a pretty convenient time. It’s almost like you’ve known when I could afford to be without you for a while.

Some people might look at you, see the dings and the dents, the rust and fading. They might drive you (if I deem them worthy), feel the lack of punch, hear the strange noises.

Not me. I see you as you were that April in 1999: shiny, sleek, fresh off the lot. I do have to confess momentary lapses in my loyalty–I’ve considered selling you, trading you, even just putting you out to pasture. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. My mom gave you to me, and she trusted that I’d take of you, appreciate you. You offered that same trust.

I’ve tried to be the best owner I could be. I haven’t been perfect (I’ve let you leak transmission fluid, I’ve driven the brakes until they went metal-to-metal, I’ve gone 7,000 miles between oil changes), but I’ve tried really hard to treat you as well as you’ve treated me. You’ve been with for much of my journey to manhood, and here’s hoping you’ll be here for a lot longer.

While I can’t be sure that you will be, I want you to be sure of this, old buddy: you’ll always be My Truck.