Saturday, July 2, 2011

A truck burns

While some people with a beloved object give it name, I never named my truck. Guys name their penis or families refer to the mini-van by an affectionate name. I liked my truck though it had no name.

When the freaking stalker drove long flat head nails in each tire, one after another at week intervals; I took it to the Goodyear store and got the tires fixed.  When a man exiting an ally against the light slammed into the passenger side fender and door, I sat and talked to him and his wife, waiting for the police. I was on my way to work and he on his way to his first chemotherapy appointment. I got the truck fixed as good as new. I learned the man's name of course, but I never looked for it in the obituaries.  When someone slammed into the back, pushing me into the back oa car stopped at a red light, I got the truck fixed as good as new.
This was the first and only new automobile I ever owned. I had been working a late night job at a call center, bored and reading Life magazine in 1995 when I saw the Dodge Ram pick-up. It was red and shiny and such a cool looking thing. I thought I'd buy it in a minute if I had the money.

That Memorial Day I went to the Dodge dealer and found one just like the picture. A salesman came over and offered me a chance to drive it. I got in the driver's side and him the passenger side. We buckled up and while driving around he begins his sales pitch. He tells me that it's not unusual for a woman to want this truck. Dodge was aware that women wanted trucks and had spent millions designing it for women. That's why it had plush cloth seats, nice carpet, electric windows and locks, power steering, cruise control, AM/FM stereo with a cassette tape player. The center consol gave you a space for extra tapes or make-up, gloves, sun glasses, whatever a woman liked to keep in her truck. Why they even had a mirror on the back side of the visor.

I'm behind the wheel and pull down the visor and on that side, no mirror. I look at him and say, "Dodge must think women are buying these trucks for their boyfriends as they obviously don't think women who drive them need a make-up mirror."

He got a little flustered and pointed out that on the ceiling between the two sides, just above the top of the windshield was a digital read out of the outside temperature and a directional compass. "Here's a compass that lets you tell which direction you're driving." I didn't tell him what I was thinking but I figured I could wait to buy the truck.

Labor Day week end a few months later, I went back and saw the perfect new truck. It was a new 1996 model and a salesman came out to talk it over. It was a different salesman. He was younger than me and asked me if I would like to test drive it. I said no let's talk about me buying it. An hour later I was driving home in the truck.

By the way the soon to be stalker boyfriend was with me and he thought I should pay what they asked for it. I bought it for $3000 less with my trade in.

A few days later I got a bed liner put in and a custom lid put on the bed. After I met Reggie he bought me a bumper sticker "Real Women Drive Trucks" and the next year at the State Fair he bought me "Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History." Oh wow that truck was a cherry.

In 2001 after 9/11 I put an American Flag on the cab back window and not too long after that the thermometer and directional read out stopped. When the radio died in 2003 Reggie got me a new one with a CD player for Christmas and put it in that next spring.

I drove that truck everywhere and used it for work to tote things here and there as needed. In all that time until now I less than 57,000 miles. The engine ran good. The seat hit my lower back in exactly the right spot. I could have slept in that cab.

All that came to an end a week ago Tuesday when the truck caught on fire and burned.

I was going to move it so we could load the back. I got in and turned the key to lower the driver side window as it wasn't hot yet. The CD player came on and I turned the key to start it. Nothing happened. No engine coming on, no grinding, no ooga ooga noise. So I turned the key off and pressed down on the gas peddle once then tried again. The engine still didn't start but I heard a pop to the right of the engine and then there was smoke and immediately flame.

I had a quilt in the truck bed and thought I might be able to smother the flames, so I popped the hood open and walked to the back. By the time I got the lid open the flames had migrated to the other side and was high above the front of the truck. I went inside and immediately called 911. When I told the operator the vehicle on fire was less than three feet form the building the fire engine was there in about five minutes.
I stood inside and watched as they poured water from hoses on the truck and front of the building for about ten minutes.

When they left all that was left was the back end from the cab window to the tail gate. The inside of the engine, cab, doors, dashboard, seats, everything was burned and melted.

I had canceled collision on the truck five years ago. When I called the insurance company I did so to cancel coverage on the truck since I sure wouldn’t be driving it. I discovered I had comprehensive coverage. I guess this is good news but there is a pile of paperwork and I'm waiting for a duplicate title since the original got burned up! Did you know you should keep your title in a separate place than your registration? Chalk that up to learning new things every day of my life!

This seems like such a small thing compared to sickness and death, war and famine but I have been sad about this since.

I looked into a new Ram. I don't like the grille on new ones. I looked into buying a used one with the same grille. All used '90's Ram trucks have from three to five times the mileage of mine. So these days I'm driving an even older car and it's just fine. I'm looking for an American made high MPG car. I like the Volt but it's too expensive. I'll start saving money. Maybe I can wait out the market and in five years there will be a 40+ mpg electric American made car for less than twenty thousand dollars.


  1. i'm so sorry about your much loved truck honey. and i love that you buy american. i always do too.

    smiles, bee

  2. It sucks to lose a car you love. We lost a couple of good cars to other people smashing into us. Hope you find another car to love.

  3. This was a beautiful tribute to your truck. I don't understand why people name their cars or why men name their penises. I don't believe in naming objects.

    I hope that you can find another truck to love. It's difficult to part with something you've had for so long.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your truck; sounds like you had some good times together though!

  5. Wow. Glad you didn't get hurt. If you are willing to try Ford, I'm on my third F-150 and I love it. Also, the Toyota Tundra is built right here in San Antonio, TX.

  6. Sorry about your truck, Charls, and I'm sorry that I don't have a name for my penis. That concept always kind of weirded me out. I like the fact that you made a point of saying your old Ram had an am/fm cassette player. Now you have your excuse to install the massive sound system with mp3 and cd and subwoofers!

  7. Goodness, what a saga. Glad you came to no physical harm, hope the insurance pays out to the last cent.

    You could buy British, of course. Some Brits do, after all. And I see you in red again.

  8. that's terrrrible,,,but glad you are doing ok with it,,,

  9. Holy cow! That's awful!! So good, though, you weren't out on the highway driving...

  10. it's hard to tell what's an american truck these days. lots of fords etc are made in mexico. my sonata was made in alabama.

    how about a pontiac solstice? i think those are the coolest looking cars.


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