Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover!


Hope you had an enjoyable holiday season!

I was recently reminded of a truck we had in the early 2000s.  I don't know the exact year it was, just that it was a retired water truck and ancient.   My former husband bought it from a friend and built a deck for his bulldozer because it was very expensive to have it hauled between job sites.

"She" had her idiosyncrasies, that's for sure.  She wasn't cheap to keep as the Mack parts store is also called the $100 store.  Of course you could rarely substitute any other parts.  It goes without saying she wasn't beautiful, but one friend gave her the benefit of the doubt and said "She may not be the ugliest truck I've ever seen, but she runs a close second!"  We bought a bulldog hood ornament at a flea market for about $50.  She deserved something to spruce her up.  Those hood ornaments are often stolen, but nobody bothered hers.  This was a truck you'd leave on job sites hoping it would get stolen and she never did.

The dogs, kids and I (and the neighbors) always knew when she was on her way home as you could hear her pull off the main road a good half mile away.  Though she had no air conditioning, radio and at times no working heater, her mechanics/safety requirements were taken care of and legal.  A highway inspector followed us on the Columbus outer belt and I was concerned we were getting stopped.  I was told they wouldn't want to spend that much time and he was right.

I only ever rode in her a few times.  You see, comfortable, she was not.  This type of cab over truck has no shock absorbers and I think the only suspension was what was in the driver's seat.  You had to prepare yourself for every tiny crack in the road that you wouldn't even notice in a car.  I knew when one was coming because Mark would hold the glove box above him so it wouldn't pop open and have paperwork/stuff rain down.  He came home once with a head and neck ache because he cracked his head on the ceiling.  I asked why he wasn't wearing his seat belt and he replied "I was wearing it!"

I used to ask the kids if one of them wanted to go "help" move the dozer and they always hemmed and hawed.  I didn't realize how painful it was until I rode in it myself.  Because of this, (and her whopping 8 miles to a gallon of fuel) she was only driven locally and long trips were hired out. Sometimes she sat so long she would sink in the driveway.  Once after a long break she was going down the freeway when he smelled smoke and jumped out.  There was a bird's nest on fire in the smokestack!

But the funniest story of all is when she was sold.  A fellow from New Jersey bought her online and had his pretty young girlfriend come along to pick her up.  We lived in Central Ohio.   I think the gal assumed she would follow him back.  Obviously, the Mack rode better with weight on her (and gas was really expensive as well.)  So the boys ran her car up on the back of the Mack.  I looked at her sweetly, but said nothing.  I was thinking if I were her, I'd sit in that car or not.  They drove the whole PA turnpike home (hundreds of miles) in that truck.   For sure they weren't speeding either as her top speed was 60 something... We asked them to call when they got home safely (partly for concern and partly to hear how it went.)  The truck made it fine.  Them, not so much.  (Just kidding.)

The Mack's for sale photo....
This all said, if you were in trouble she was a beautiful site to see coming.  She constantly popped heavy equipment out of the mud and ice when nothing else could.  She never got stuck.  Oddly, our neighbors once had a semi tractor stuck in their driveway/yard and proceeded to nearly get a second one stuck getting it out.  The Mack went over to help and it took longer to hook up the chains then to pull it out!

So, the moral of this story is that looks aren't everything, just because you are old, it doesn't mean you can't be useful and you can teach an old (bull)dog new tricks!

Until next time,


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