I didn’t think that I was a truck girl when I was growing up in Chicago. I was far more in love with the fast cars at the racetrack that my father’s family ran. The deafening roar of the engine, the wind in my hair from cars speeding around the track, and the sleek curvy bodies on some beautifully engineered sports cars. It was the chef’s kiss in my opinion and it still is… in a way. I loved sitting in the stands on the very edge of the icy aluminum bench while peeling one butt cheek up at a time to alleviate the numbness. I found joy in braving the Chicago wind that would chaff my nose and lips before I could make a run for a warm pretzel and a sugary cup of hot chocolate. I thought I’d never be the type of girl who owned a rusty beat up ford truck.
I began to fall in love with country living when I started growing up and taking horse riding lessons. Trail riding in open fields, flanked by rows of corn was medicine to my soul. Robin blue skies above my head, heels down, quiet hands, and finally being able to hear myself think after being bullied in school. Horses don’t care if your hair is red, and lesson horses don’t mind if you wrap your skinny arms around their neck to take a moment to cry about your day. They don’t talk back by calling you stupid for being dyslexic. The only currency a horse will demand is in respect and once you’ve earned it, your investment doubles. They certainly won’t verbally abuse you with the kind of words that take years to undo.
I fell in love with horses first and country living second before I fell in love with trucks. Everything changed after my grandfather bought a brand new ford. A stunning blue and white two-door Ford truck was sitting in my driveway after school one day. My grandfather was so proud of it that he asked to take my picture while I stood in front of it. He carried that picture around in his wallet for as long as I could remember. We took so many road trips together in that truck. I would slide in next to him and we would bounce down the private dirt road that led to his 20 acre farm in Arizona. The windows rolled down as far they could go and the scent of gasoline hanging thick in the air while hauling my pony home…that was the moment I fell in love with trucks. Being able to combine my love of equine, gardening supplies, and my joy of surrounding myself with nature was the perfect marriage.
My first truck (of my own) was a dodge that after about 6 months give or take, broke down in my driveway because it failed to go into reverse. It didn’t last long but I was thankful for the memories I made in it with my son. I picked him up early from school one day and took him to get donuts and drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts. We spent the afternoon feeding ducks at a random pond that we found and later played on a little swing set nearby. I kept a tube of pumpkin chapstick and bottle of pumpkin hand lotion in a little holder in the front seat so it always smelled like pumpkins. Riding in that truck was the highlight of Nikolai’s week. The darn truck drank oil like a fish in water and would sometimes overheat but it was our farm truck. We named it Big Blue for the V8 engine. That rusty old rattle-can-spray-painted Dodge is still sitting lifeless in my driveway; its new purpose is to hold round bales in the flatbed that I cover with a tarp until I’m ready to use them.
My second truck is an old 72 Ford F100. It’s missing a gas tank but I spotted it on advertisement on Facebook Market place. It doesn’t exactly run either. I mean it runs if you rig a gas can up to it… but it’s not reliable. The rear tire is flat right now, and it’s been sitting by my creek for about a year or so. We have big plans for her once our to-do list isn’t quite so overwhelming. We plan to bring her back to her former glory with an alignment, all new parts, and a new paint job. Maybe we’ll even get the farm logo branded onto the door. She’s got chippy paint that matches the sky and possibly a bee’s nest under the hood but she’s lovelier with age and patina. Nothing brightens my day like snuggling with my husband and Nikolai as we drive through mountain roads together in an old truck. As much as I still admire sports cars, there’s something special about dusty dirt roads and patina coated farm trucks. Don’t you think so?