Saturday, July 6, 2013

Big Red

My parents have a collection of a few really cool old things. They've got a radio from the 1930's that picks up stations from all over the world, my grandmother's old sewing machine, a Motorola black and white "tube" television from the 1940's, to name a few.

I remember when Dad acquired this old truck from my grandpa's "farm."  It was probably originally light blue, but so beat up and overworked it had been rubbed down to a silvery gray.  It barely ran. Among all the Cole siblings, no one else wanted it.  It was junk. 

I remember when he fixed it up. My first visit to the auto salvage yard (a.k.a. the dump). He fixed up the engine and other guts.  He replaced the seat, put in seatbelts, re-wrapped the steering wheel, added a radio.  I got to program the pre-set stations on the analog radio using the very hard-to-push buttons. 

Dad hired a professional body guy to work out the dents and give it a fresh new coat of paint.  What a beaut.  Trash to treasure.

This vehicle is an icon of my childhood.

I remember talking to random truckers on the CB radio using the code name "Big Red" on the way home from running errands any given Saturday. 

I remember loading its bed up with a Christmas tree, a rubber raft bound for the lake, a large neighborhood garage sale purchase, kids for a slow spin around the cul-de-sac. 

I remember learning how to drive stick shift, and once jumping Big Red right into the corner of our house... oops.  It's still the only stick shift vehicle I have ever driven successfully... power steering just isn't my thing I guess.

Now this old truck lives in Flagstaff at my folks' place in the mountains. It barely made it up there, not able to run much faster than 50 miles per hour. It's great for moving things, or taking a spin around for some fresh air.  Kids love to climb it and play in the cabin.

There's something magical about a giant piece of machinery so old and so simple and so bright shiny red.  American made in 1958, it's going to live in our family forever.  So nostalgic for me to put my little girl in it to play on her very first Independence Day.

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