My Dad, His Truck, My Memories
I Will Tell You
that I have never in my 65 years on God’s beautiful earth, been rich. Rich enough to not have to worry about anything or anyone. And mainly, to keep my bills paid, or paid-off, and have money enough to secretly-give it to a deserving neighbor. I said secretly because I am not one for showing-up and giving this guy, whom I do not know from Adam, and hand him a few thousand dollars Scott-free.
Judging by today’s society, I would probably be shot or asked to leave his property. Plus call the local authorities and accuse me of giving him some counterfeit scratch. That explains well why giving secretly is my only way to go. Now to be blessed with warehouses of bills in large denominations all wrapped in plastic and guarded by six Hell’s Angels. Or hire an ex-Navy SEAL to take care of troublemakers. Think about these thoughts and then you will chuckle.
When I Was 10 Years of Age
something really terrific happened to me. Now what do you, my good friends, think it was? No! Do not answer, “a 10-year-old girl!” Money? Are you serious? In 1963, America’s economy was just waking-up, people working building cars, homes, and just living life. Me? I was stuck in the 10th grade at Hamilton Grammar School and that is enough about that.
My “really terrific” thing that happened to me was allowing my dad to let me ride with him in his 1955 Chevy truck (or pick-up) to go to town for paying-bills, hauling groceries, and takings me to catch the school bus at my grandpa/s house. Yes, his ‘55 Chevy was not just a truck. It had soul. And a life of its own. I can testify to you that when cars of that age were either flooded and wouldn’t start because of the bitter winter weather or because one small part of the engine was rebelling and wanted its owner to give it a day’s rest. I can understand that.
Then when these obstacles tried to stop my dad and his truck, this was only a walk in the park for dad’s ‘55 truck. The engine literally roared to life and folks, if you know anything about the sizes of engines, for an engine to roar and it being a six-cylinder was something to talk about. As a rule, six-cylinder engines, car or truck, do not roar. Sing, maybe, but not roar.
It Did Not Matter
to me because my dad’s truck engine roared, it just made me feel like I was a member of Royalty riding in a truck that no one owns or can drive without being hauled-out and beaten. I was not a tall kid. Skinny, sure. But not tall. But I felt tall for sure when I would sit-up as straight as I possibly could when I sat in dad’s truck seat. Yes, sir! I was on my way to being a man. I dreamed that one day, I would be driving this truck. Yes, sir. And I would be single and take it for cruising on the weekend to pick-up pretty girls. There is just that precious something that causes pretty girls to fall in love with vintage things. Chevy trucks? Yes, sir. Me? Are you nuts?
You are entitled to enjoy all of the dreams that you like, but as for me, my dreams were what kept me going throughout the harsh years of grades one through six. Each time when I was at home and my dad wanted to go to town for something, he would automatically-call my mom to ride with him, but when I reached 10, he looked to me to take those rides. Priceless. Precious times, if you want to know the truth. And at this moment, I am without the proper training of a plain wordsmith because then if I had “that” type of wisdom, I would be whipping-out several hubs by the hour. Possibly by the month.
When I was riding in my dad’s truck, the world as I knew it, did not exist. Only a blur remained. That should tell you what torment that my few friends and I suffered in our City School System. No. I have ranted too much about that in my past. And when my dad and I had reached our destination, he would urge me to get out and walk with him, but I respectfully-reclined his offer and just sad in the truck and enjoyed looking at all of the dash lights, foot pedals and that speedometer. I loved them all. And the older I got, the more I wanted “a” truck identical to dad’s ‘55 Chevy truck. I wanted one so much that I would lay awake all-night long when I should have been sleeping because the next day would be a school day. No other vehicle or event could match dad’s ‘55 Chevy truck.
When I Was Outside
when my mom was busy doing housework, my dad would be plowing in the fields in order to have the family food for daily life. But me? I was very scared, yet very excited to know that when I opened the driver’s side door (dad’s door) to the ‘55 Chevy Truck, I would be siting under the wheel. I know that when I had accomplished this feat, I would feel as if I was 22. Why 22? I do not know. To me at 10, it just sounded adult.
I remember the hot summer afternoon when everything fell into place. Mom was (like I just said), doing her housework and dad was plowing in the fields to plant his seed for crops to be harvested which is the long way of telling you, “so we could have food.” I just wanted to “sound” like I was with a college degree and an I.Q. that would be bragged on.
My right hand touched the chrome door handle and with ever-so-slowly (as to not make any sounds) I got the door open and as I tried to open it, there was that all-familiar creak that I had forgotten. Good thing that I had remembered that dad had placed a can of oil on our porch, so with the oil in hand, I poured a few drops on the door handles and no more creak. Now it was “the” time. A moment that I had dreamed of for years. The very moment when I would sit behind the wheel of a truly American classic: the 1955 Chevy truck. And I kid you not. I wish that I had an almost-new truck of this model and brand, and I know that there “are” those trucks just like I am talking about probably hidden from view in a big warehouse owned by someone like Jay Leno, former Tonight Show host and he is worth several cool million bucks and he earned every penny—this is why he can own as many cars and trucks as he wants. I would wager that he owns a truck identical to my dad’s.
Unless I am blessed with untold wealth, I will never know. But there is one thing that I do know: if I cannot get the real 1955 Chevy pickup truck, then I will have to settle for a model truck of this year and the original paint was green, but I am not choosy. Black will do just great. (I feel tears welling-up already.)
Frankly, and without apology, if I had the model of a 1955 Chevy truck, I promise you just by sitting in my recliner in my living room and looking at my truck would make me feel so good that my current health issues would hardly feel like discomfort. I mean it. When I was 10, people just did not walk up from nowhere and buy a truck like my dad owned. I almost forgot to share this with you: when my dad first bought the truck, I loved it instantly. But with every opportunity, he would be outside hand-washing and drying his truck. And for anyone, me, mom, even my dad, or friends, were forbidden to get inside his truck without cleaning the dust or mud off of their feet. I have to admit it, but I feel just like him. Both he and and his truck were rare and unique creations.
Sure at my present time, with no apparent dreams, I would invite my grandchildren to stand and look at this marvelous ‘55 Chevy truck. But I did say stand, not reach and pick-up the truck. I know that I could not stand that. It would be just like holding their great grandpa and oh, what if they dropped it? I would shudder with fear if that were to happen.
But man, oh, man, how much love that I had, now have, and will have as long as I draw breath to tell you and anyone else just how much that 1955 Chevy truck meant to me.
I am 65. But most of my heart is still living in my younger days. What fun I would have just holding this ‘55 Chevy truck. I would let the memories of my dad and me as we went to town and other places where I remember dad stopping and talking to his friends. And this fact you might get upset, but I wasn’t: there was more times than once when he would stop and shake hands with his buddies, and they would give his truck a good eyeing and never, I mean never, ask who I was or what a 10-year-old boy was doing riding with him. To make things worse. These friends of my dad WOULD look inside the cab of the truck, see me, never show any emotion, and keep walking. I wrote it off as not as much as being neglected, but his friends were just like him . . .in love with his ‘55 Chevy truck.
Correction! But not as much as me.
Ladies And Gentlemen, My Summary . . .
I started to not finish my hub with this fact about my dad and his truck. One day when I jumped off of my school bus, I ran to our house and outside there sat a solid red, 1960 Chevrolet car with a white top.
Suddenly I came to a stop. Looked again at what was sitting in the place where my dad parked his truck.
I entered our house and there sat my mom and dad and they looked happy, well, somewhat. I just had to ask, “who’s here? One of our relatives? An insurance salesman? What?”
Then the “Pain Train” rolled right at me as mom said, “Ken, let me tell you that the car was NOT my idea, but your dad’s to trade his truck for this car.”
“Why, dad? Why did you do that?” I said almost bellowing.
Dad shook his head and said very little. I soon found out that he was riding by the car lot where this red car was sitting and my dad stopped and the salesman gave him a great deal.
My breath was still trying to enter my lungs. Tears came from my eyes. I l loved that ‘55 Chevy truck. And do mean love. I love it so much that I would give $20 bucks if I even had a model truck like that one.
Oh, before I forget. Did I tell you that my dad loved to trade—knives, plows, mules, dogs, and yes, that fantastic ‘55 Chevy truck, the “truck of my dreams.”
October 12, 2019_________________________________________________
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© 2019 Kenneth Avery