MAY 31, 2010 “ME AND MY OLD PICKUP TRUCK”: MORE THAN JUST A CATCHY SONG TITLE

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There are few relationships that are better than the one that you get with an old truck.

 

“A garden variety old ½ ton with dents, rust and a thousand memories that got you there (most of the time) is a faithful companion.”

 

In fact, an old truck is the perfect bookend to an old dog in country songs and real life for the chosen few.

 

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The other day, I saw an older guy on the highway in an old truck. It stood out in a sea of newness for many reasons.

 

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The big old school mirrors indicated that the ancient beast of burden probably had a camper on it, or towed a livestock trailer at some point in its life. I guessed livestock trailer.

 

The driver looked like a hard-working guy, so I guessed that the truck also worked hard all of its life. It was very unlikely to be a holiday truck- then or now.

 

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I am a big fan of old trucks that still show their un-pampered past.

 

 

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The history and character is in the worn interior and a thousand nicks and scars from a life of tough work where beauty is definitely only skin deep. With a truck bed designed to shoulder a work load –not a toy load.

 

 

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I like the feel when you slide behind the wheel of an old truck. It’s a good view when you stare down the hood of a working class hero from the past. The bench seat has been ergonomically corrected by the guy who sat there the longest, so forget about adjustable lumbar or hot and cold running seats. The truck is a no-frills throwback to a no-frills working world era for trucks.

 

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Most of these old warhorses were very lucky to have power steering or automatic transmissions. They were designed to be uncomplicated and tough, just like a loyal mutt. An AM radio was as good as it got in those days for luxury items in a working truck.

 

 

You feel all of that when you drive an old truck. It’s an instant connection to a bygone era when trucks were trucks and cars were cars, and only one of them carried a Lincoln badge. One rule is the same: You still don’t throw bales into anything with a Lincoln name on it.

 

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It feels like a simpler era with every shift and the faint hint of oil slipping past well-worn rings in the air. Maybe old trucks don’t have the same zing that they had when they were young, but they wear old age very well, rust and all.

 

The guy in the old truck didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry on the road. I would guess that he and his old pickup truck had already covered too many miles on the road of life together, and now they could finally slow down a bit.

 

They both probably earned it.

Jim Sutherland

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