The Truck9:18:00 PM
With four active drivers in my family by the time I got my license, having a car was a fight. To combat this, I somehow convinced my parents to let me drive my Dad’s old (and I’m talking old) truck, which nobody ever wanted to drive, and therefore, I wouldn’t have to share.
My dad bought his truck when it was brand new…in 1980. By the time that I was driving it in 2012, it was twice as old as I was, and it looked twice as old as it really was (for those of y’all who can’t do math, that’s like four times). This bad boy got about 8 miles per gallon. That didn’t stop me from loving him any less.
I remember the first time my Dad took me out to learn how to drive it, because it was manual and I had absolutely zero experience with stick. We went with one of my friends behind the grocery store in my neighborhood and I think I stalled three or four times, which – if you ever rode in that truck – was pretty impressive.
I think about two days after my first time driving it, I drove the truck to school. I got the weirdest looks. Honestly, I don’t blame them. I decked him out with a zebra steering wheel cover (so me) and a cute little JROTC battalion crest with my name on it on the back window.
…Speaking of windows, I had to drive with the windows down. All the time. Whether it was the dead of winter or middle of summer, I was feeling the wind on my face. This didn’t matter so much in the summer since the truck had no air conditioning, but it wasn’t my favorite thing in the chilly winter.
“Why didn’t you just roll up the windows?” you may ask. Well, friends. I learned that the hard way. The first day that I drove the truck to school, I made a left turn and THE RIGHT DOOR FLEW OPEN. I’m not kidding!!!!! To make matters worse, I was in the truck by myself, and while attempting to control the vehicle I had to reach across the bench and close the opposite door so that I wouldn’t accidentally decapitate someone with my swinging door. Don’t ask me the physics behind it, but if the windows were down, neither of the doors would fly open when I turned.
Along with the awful mileage, lack of air conditioning, and flying doors, the speedometer was broken, so I never had any idea how fast I was going. This has an easy enough solution: just gauge your speed based off of traffic. I mean, that would’ve worked, but when I left for seminary/school in the morning, it was 5:30 AM, and when I came home from extracurriculars, it was 9:00 PM. Not a lot of traffic. It probably helped that the truck maxed out at about 55 so if I was speeding, it wasn’t by much, but I never got pulled over.
To make matters even more fun, the gas gauge wasn’t accurate, and with 8 mpg, I had to refill often. I only ran out of gas once, and technically it wasn’t my fault….
One of the passenger seatbelts was very frayed and very unsafe, and shifting to or from 2nd was basically impossible. If you know how to drive manual, this was really fun because I used it all the time. I can’t forget about the fact that the truck had a bench seat that I couldn’t adjust, so I could barely reach the clutch (which worked just about as well as 2nd gear).
Starting from a few weeks of me driving the truck to even after it died, I would have random people (read: boys) at school come up to me and say “Hey! You’re the girl that drives that truck!” or “Can I buy parts of your truck off of you?” This was almost a daily occurrence, no lie.
My heart just about broke when the truck did, because it had become so much of who I was. During my sophomore year of college, my parents decided to donate it. Although the truck is now gone, my memories will always be here.
I grew up riding in that truck and playing in its bed with my siblings.
The front mirror was cracked, the paint was rust, and I loved every bit of it.