19 March, 2014
Some Day I'll Have to Give Her Up
I cared for her over the years. There's only been a few times that someone else worked on her. I didn't baby her though. She's spent most of her life outdoors, not in a garage. On occasion I asked her to tow more than she was rated for, haul more than she was rated for and go longer between services than normal. She's never let me down. The only times I've been stranded with this truck were due to my own stupidity. Running out of fuel (once), flat tires (twice), dead battery because I left the lights on... But I can't stop the onslaught of time. Not long after I bought my house, the 'ol girl started rusting away like there was no tomorrow. I realized it was pretty bad as the rust blisters started popping up all over the place and the box floor started to bow quite a bit. My first instinct was to start looking for body parts but I thought "Ya know, she's had a long, hard life. I'm just going to take care of her and let her age gracefully." I've heard people tell me I'm nuts for continuing to put money into her. They haven't owned the same vehicle for over twenty years. This truck has gone beyond being identified with me. It has become part of me. I have friends whose children were born, grew up and graduated high school since I've owned this truck. I've lost a Father, Brother, two Grandmothers, two cousins, an Uncle and a best friend since I've owned this truck. I've shown up at a whole lot of weddings, funerals, birthday parties, baptisms, reunions... with this truck. Hell, I wasn't even of legal drinking age when I picked her up from the dealer. There is so much of me and my past linked to this truck that I can't help but be sad that I'm going to have to let her go. The thought of it had me crying on the way home from work today.
'Round about the time I made the last payment of the loan (she was in the body shop the day I made the last payment) I decided that I was going to be the only person to own her. Ever. Well, technically speaking I co-owned it with the bank for the first five years. But you get what I'm saying, right? Right. She's too old and too run down to even think of trading her in for something else. I also can't stand the thought of someone else driving her and running her into the ground. No, I won't let that happen. I decided that when she becomes too weak to continue in service that I would decommission her and let her have an honorable end. Her cab is becoming so rusty that she's having a hard time staying in shape. I thought, briefly, about finding a new cab but realized it wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be "her". No, when the day comes (she'll let me know when that day is) I'm going to have a decommissioning party for her. I want all my friends and family at the party. I want to hear their stories about her, I want to take them for the last rides, I want them to take a turn at the wheel.... Then I'm going to disassemble her. I haven't decided how far I'll go, I just know it will be far enough that she can't be used in any other vehicles. I plan on keeping a few pieces as mementos, but the majority of her will be recycled into new steel. I know the day is coming, and soon, but I want to put it off for as long as possible. I can't. I can't ask her to continue on only because I'm afraid of not having her around anymore. She's earned an honorable end to be sure, and I intend to give it to her. At over 242,000 miles and starting her 23rd year of service... I can't complain one bit. Maybe we can have one more summer together.