He had this old beat up pickup truck. I don’t remember the color; it was always dusty. I don’t know the make or model; I think it was an old Chevy, but I may be confusing it with the old Don McClean song because I’m pretty sure it made many trips to the dry levy. It looked like a rusty lawn ornament until you got close and saw even though it looked tired, it was ready to go on adventures.
The doors creaked open in protest and I think I fully expected a gnome or troll to pop out, not allowing me entrance since I pictured the vehicle as a magical portal. I was so small then, clambering and climbing just to get in. The cab looked cavernous with it’s oversized dash, mysterious levers and buttons. The radio dials were frozen but you could still pick up a few stations. The seats were crinkly soft like an old couch you’d find along the curb for the trash man. The steering wheel was big like a ship’s wheel which was appropriate I thought since riding felt sort of like sailing- a bit bumpy, noisy. Wind whipping through my hair. It was always exciting and a bit unnerving like an amusement park ride. There weren’t any seat-belts so I spent half the ride aloft, trying to hold on but never finding purchase except if I was lucky and could grab the manual window opener like grabbing the brass ring.
The absolute best part of that truck
without a doubt even in my aging memory was the area above the dash itself. Oh what wondrous surprises! I don’t know how the items stayed and didn’t fly away in the wind but maybe it was the sheer weight and volume.
Aside from maps as you’d expect, you could find Polaroids, matches, rubber bands, screwdrivers, tape, 8 tracks, newspaper clippings, packs of teaberry chewing gum, a comb, handkerchiefs, peanuts, scraps of paper with numbers, notebooks, postcards, pencils, darts, a hammer, guitar picks, nuts and bolts, screws, nails, measuring tape, glue, a magazine, crackers, sketches, paints, and gloves.
The stories I came up with just perusing those items always kept my young mind busy. I can still see the mixed art collage of that truck dash. I can smell the fuel, the teaberry gum, and his clean piney soapy smell. I can see the bright blue of his eyes. I can see his smile. Though I never knew him well, I would have known we were related even if nobody had told me.
I don’t know where he is but that’s OK. We shared enough to finish our story. But I often think of that truck, no doubt crumbling into the ground on some parcel of forgotten neglected farmland. The ride never lasted long enough though. I never finished exploring. I wonder what other surprises were left on that dusty dash.