The other day I took our old rusty truck into Mount Vernon to fill up some gas cans for the lawn mower. The truck is a ’78 Chevy and is therefore very different from nearly everything on the road these days. To begin with, it is the only vehicle we own with a V8 engine, though in older times, they used to be standard in nearly every car. Accompanying this V8 is more horsepower than I’m used to. When I drive my Hyundai around, I am low to the ground with the steering wheel at bent-arms length; in the truck however, I am way off of the ground (and still have about a foot of headroom to spare) and the steering wheel is right up close to me, even with the bench seat all the way back.

Anyhow, I went roaring down gravel roads and up hills at 55 mph—sitting on a seat with a cushion worn almost completely through—on my way to town, though I had to be careful because the brakes have a tendency to lock if the pedal is pressed very hard.

This beast only has three gears (and a low gear which isn’t really necessary in normal driving) and therefore practically drinks gas. Oh, and the gas tanks sit outside the frame of the truck, making it basically a hazard to drive, because if hit from the side… KABOOM!!!

The radio doesn’t work, and the choke cable (ever seen one of those?) likes to work itself free, making the vehicle loose power going up hills. But regardless, it has memories, despite all of its less-than-up-to-standard features. The blinkers don’t work anymore; the horn doesn’t either (after I noticed that when I turned left the horn beeped); and at one point I could change the starter in 15 minutes because it kept burning up. For two consecutive winters I used the bed of the truck to haul silage for a neighbor’s cows and sometimes the four-wheel drive didn’t work in the snow.

That old truck has made it all the way from South Dakota where we bought it for 2,000 dollars and it still runs and can pull and haul and drive through mud and snow. But I just drove it to town and picked up 11 gallons of gas to burn in the lawn mower.


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