Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Old Truck

These star-filled nights
that waver somewhere between
spring and summer
have me thinking of times passed.

Of those a-bit-chilly evenings
when the crickets chirp-
and the whippoorwill cries-
and the sun melts down
like rainbow sherbet ice cream.

It also reminds me of good times
in our old rusty pickup truck.

Somewhere after the '69 Datsun
and before the '79 Buick,
there was a 62(?) Chevy pickup.

My husband and I bought it off
the father of one of his friends-
giving him $200 a month
for three months
until it was paid in full.

It was finally ours!
That giant steering wheel-
The faded maroon paint-
The balding tires-

...and wild freedom.

I would drop my husband off
at the meat plant every morning
at five o'clock
and head to my mom's to do laundry.

She and I would usually pile into the truck
and set off to get groceries-
(looking a bit like Ellie May and Granny)-
keeping one eye out for yard sales
and the other eye on the dashboard thermostat
that always seemed to read a little bit hot.

We actually took that truck
all the way to Chicago once
to see his parents-
Our German Shepherd, Abe,
in the back-
our clothes packed neatly
in paper sacks on the floorboard.

And we thought we were cool.
We owned that road!

The truck was even more special
when we parked it at
the local drive-in theater-
pulled that heavy, clunky speaker
into the window
and watched B-rated movies
in tinny, Micky Mouse sound.

We always brought our own popcorn,
and hot dogs, and an occasional
candy bar when we could afford them.
And always a cooler of iced down beer.

Of course that beer made
my husband have to pee a lot-
but the floorboard was so rusted out
that a good aim was all that was needed!

That old truck was part of our lives
and a daily necessity.

And then I remember getting out of it
one day in the parking lot
and I was suddenly met by a girl
I went to high school with-
her sleek, new automobile
as shiny and new and modern
as anything money could buy.

Suddenly I was ashamed
of that beat up old truck
and I hated the fact
that she saw me in it.

It was then that the love wore off-
the fun subsided-
the way I looked at the world
became distorted
and unfair.

soon there were others vehicles
that came along in our lives-
other memories-
and beautiful places-
and summer days rich with rock music...
and sweet kisses-
and starlit nights-
and a maturity that superseded jealousy.

I would never in a million years
go back and change that time
in our '62 Chevy.

I bet that girl I saw
doesn't know what real love is...

or the feel of a window fan on her face
in ninety degree weather...

the choice between buying gasoline
or a pound of hamburger...

waking up to an old rooster-
and wrinkled sheets-
and the dusty perfume
of a summer road...

or the thrill of sitting in
an old pickup truck
at the drive-in-
sipping cold beer,
eating hot dogs,
kissing gently,
and gazing at the moon.

I always have been-
and continue to be-
...very blessed.