The “Egret” started when I was editing a few images I has shot on a trip to The Grand Canyon northern rim with my family. My wife looking over my shoulder asked, “where did you shoot a picture of that bird”. From that moment I could see nothing else. It’s a door handle from a 1932 pickup truck…
This 1939 Studebaker was the image that got me wondering why people park their old trucks in such a prominent location “for all tho see”. It got me wondering, and I began to write short stories based on interviewing the imaginary owner. Following are some:
Oh…if it’s the truck you’re interested in, it’s not for sale. what? just a photo. No harm I suppose. that’ll be OK. Just don’t climb inside or nothin’.
It was my pops. ‘34 chevy ton and a half. Biggest damn hauler in town…..at the time. It was the first “new” truck in these parts, cause of the depression and all. Well it was ‘bout six or seven years old when he bought it from a lady down in Lewiston. Her husband got killed at the mill down in Bovill. It’s the other side of town. It’s closed now. I worked there, thirty-five years. My pop got it real cheap since nobody had any money back then. He’d only drove it a year before he went off to the war. WWII! The big one. Fought the Jap’s. Before that he was the only hauler in town. Carried just about anything up from Lewiston. Even hauled a bunch of military hardware for the navy, to some lake up north. After the war I found out they were doing submarine testing up there. Real top secret stuff. Right after that dad shipped off. I guess that’s why dad joined the navy, cause he was already workin’ for em. Naw, dad never came home. He was killed at Midway. I never even met him. Mom was pregnant with me when he left. Mom told me how he loved driving that truck, so I kept it, made me feel kinda close to him. When I was a kid, I used to sit inside and talk to him ‘bout all sorts of stuff. Dad and son stuff. Drove it myself for a couple of years, after I grew up, you know ….just for fun. Not too much cause of how old she was by then.
When I had my boy, I figured we’d fix her up, you know, just for fun. We started on the engine when he was just seventeen, and then one god damn day, my kid, he goes and joins the god damn Marines. There was a war going on and kids were getting killed. I didn’t want him to go…cause of my dad and all. I was so pissed, I didn’t even say goodbye when he shipped off. Six months later he goes MIA in “Nam”. That was back in ‘68. The day they came by to let me know, I just pulled her out of the garage and parked her there so he’d know he was welcome home; to let him know I still loved him. You know, to say I’m sorry.
It’s been there ever since. I’d figure to move the damn thing when he came home cause it’s such an eyesore. Piece of junk just sitting there in my front yard. They never found him, not yet anyhow.
No……it’s not for sale.
My son and I are gonna fix it up…You know, when he comes home..
“For darn near forty years, I drove that ol Ford to an from the Canyon… delivering supplies an fixins’ for all them city slickers that come up to the rim to take a gander over the edge. The canyon…the Grand Canyon. It’s deeper from this side, and higher up the hill, long way to drive four times a week. Aahh, I don’t know, I guess I carried all kinds of loads; bread, tires, tried ice once. That didn’t work. Showed up with water. Hauled up eight trunks for some Hollywood big-shot and his little blonde mistress so they could see the canyon one night! She was some looker. Think her name was Eva. Then one day she just quit…the ford I mean. I had to tow her down myself cause no one would even try since she was so darn heavy.
She’s a big-un that ford, bigger than the tow-mater down at the garage that showed up to pull her home. Cost me fifty bucks jes to get him up on the hill. I hadta rent one of them big rig haulers from over in St. George to get her. This is where I dropped her. She’s been here ever since. I just couldn’t give her up to the scrap yard, not after all them years. She took care of me, many a times. Saved my life morn’ once. I just couldn’t let her go.
No…I don’t drive Fords any more, kinda like and old girl friend I use to have. Redhead! I never dated a redhead again either…you just don’t go back….ever!” not to ford, not to redheads.
Nope. Never married. Why’d you ask? .
It was my grand-dad’s truck. When I was a little girl he used to let me ride along in the cab as he picked loads of logs up that grade you’re heading towards. It was far different back in the “fifties”. It was gravel then. They paved it in ‘73.
I remember on the slow ride up the mountain grampa and I had long talks about….oh just about anything. I was his favorite, and he loved to have me along. Only in the summer-time mind you. We couldn’t make the grade in the snow. Grampa and I, we talked about all the places he’d been during the war. France, Germany Italy. That’s where he met my grandma. She’s still alive..up at the house. Want to meet her? Anyway, we’d talk about all kinds of things. Well, I was only eight, so not everything. On the way down grampa wouldn’t say much at all. He was very quiet, except he would cuss every once in a while. I guess it’s because the loads were so heavy, and the roads, well they were pretty darn slippery. I just sat there, real quiet and held on. Trust him? Sure.
He was my Grampa. He wouldn’t let me get hurt. I was his favorite.
Why’d I keep it? Well grampa and I had a falling out back in the “sixties”. He died before we made up. He used to call me “pinky Yellow hair”. I moved off to San Francisco and kinda got caught up in the…..hippie movement; you know flower child, Height Ashbury and all that stuff. Yea, I was involved in the drug scene, that’s why grampa and I didn’t get along. He didn’t approve.
He parked her right here back in ‘70 when he bought that new Freightliner. That’s the one that killed him. He was carrying much bigger loads, in the winter too. He was too old to be driving a load like that. He never learned to drive icy roads. Ran off the road in ‘73. 300 feet down.that truck’s still three too. Up on the hill.
I never got the chance to tell him I was sorry. I didn’t even know he died until ‘77 when I finally came home. I painted it pink that summer. To remember grampa. See all the flowers? That was for me, and the plate? Well, that’s for me and grampa.
“Jeter” Long lost brother of Mater