I traded in my truck on Wednesday. It was only as I drove away in my new car that I thought about how I had had this particular truck longer than I have owned any vehicle in my life. It moved with us from Asheville to Cleveland and finally to Atlanta.
It was time to let it go. It wasn’t practical for Atlanta…its sight lines were frustrating in the city, and its turning radius made it almost impossible to park. While it had pretty low mileage, it spent four of its last five years driving through the snow belt east of Cleveland, Ohio gathering chemicals off the road—salt, magnesium chloride, potassium acetate, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, and potassium chloride. The drive from our house to the school, dipping down the long slope to the bridge over the Chagrin River and rising again equally steep through Gates Mills toward Chesterland on the other side, was in December through March an adventure even with four-wheel drive. There is a reason people resist buying cars from the upper mid-west, and it has something to do with the rust and salt that go about their work with a methodical and relentless effort to corrode.
My nine-year old daughter loved my truck, and even better she loves trucks in general. I take this as a good sign, for people who love trucks often love them for the dream of where the truck might take them. They love sitting up off the road. They particularly love them when they are somewhat scratched, dirty and musty. People who love trucks don’t fret dents much. Most people who love trucks are of a slightly nostalgic bent.
There are a small number of truck enthusiasts who outwardly deny their fondness for the things, who would never drive them, and who keep their interest a secret or at least at arm’s length. They are romantics who dream of having a practical need for a truck that would allow them to expose their desire for one. (My theory is that they have already picked out their ideal truck in their mind—they try not to turn their heads when they drive by the line of shiny new trucks at the Chevy dealership.)
I have a suspicion that my father may be the captain of this secret and widely dispersed group of covert truck lovers. He has rolled his eyes at five trucks I have driven, but here’s the thing…the man has bought three very nice paintings that somehow involve pick-up trucks significantly. I may be out on a limb here, but in heaven when (like all-Americans who go to heaven) he gets to pick out his dream car, I submit that, though he’d tell you he’d choose an old T-Bird, he might just end up choosing the mid-sixties Chevy Pick-up, maybe powder blue, maybe with a little rust, probably with a dent or two.
So this week it is farewell and Godspeed to my GMC Z-71 Sierra SLT. I am certain they will refurbish you well in the shop before you go back on the lot, and that you have many miles ahead. Long may you run.