Sunday, June 28, 2015


John Denver once wrote a song called, "This Old Guitar" about his first guitar, the one that taught him to sing. I've been driving around in a truck for the last ten months. The Family Truck. These drives have taken me through a lot of fields and lakes that remind me of my foothilled home and my Idaho heritage heart. And I've got to thinking about how this old truck is my John Denver's guitar. The transmission's been having a hard time in this heat, so before it gives up the vehicular ghost, here is my sweetheart letter to it. (Just kidding Mom, the transmission's okay. I hope.)

The truck:
On the back bumper, there is a cracked and faded purple sticker reading "My child is an Eagle Middle School Honor Student." (Congratulatory applause please.) I don't know if that Honors student was me or my brother, but I like the idea of the unintentional arrogance of driving around in a vehicle announcing your own middle school awesomeness.

The leather seats are cracked along the seams. The driver's seat is so badly torn up (I assume from back-pocket wallets and keys and bluejean rivets) that it is now hidden under a seat cover.

There is a sunroof that gets lost all the way back there sometimes.

A six CD changer and I thought "What technology!" back in 2000 or whenever dad bought it.

There's a hitch on the back that I always worry I'm going to smash into someone's hood when I'm backing into parking spaces.

Somewhere down the road it acquired a large dent in the driver's side door. I do not take credit or blame for this.

What I remember:
The first time I saw the truck, my family was painting a house. My dad pulled up in the truck to join us. *New truck alert.*

When I was in high school, one evening the truck was parked in our driveway in front of the alfalfa fields around our house and the sun was setting one of those good Idaho sunsets and the truck was like a manly human and it looked just like it belonged in a commercial and I thought, "I'm going to take a picture of this truck in this field with this sunset and my dad's gonna love it." The picture came back dark, except for the alien gleam off the taillights from the cameraflash. Story of every epic picture I took in high school. I wonder if I still have that picture.

I remember early evening drives to Black Canyon when the light is long and we listen to Eva Cassidy and stop at RoAnn's on the way back for shakes and fries. I remember dreaming about someday love looking up at the stars in my sun-crispy body and lake-tired muscles.

When my friend got sick, we got in my truck and I drove him to the hills and we let the back down and sat on the tailgate and watched the sunset.

Once we nearly slid off the road to our deaths driving home in a blizzard, and once we nearly crashed into a semi but instead spun a 360 because dad had warned us.

The heart people drove to Strawberry in that thing, listening to Of Monsters and Men the whole way.

It got us around chasmic road wash-outs and around boulders as we escaped a flashflood.

And I've started counting stars back there too.

Common occurrence when you're a girl who drives a truck:
Every boy: Hey Carolyn!
Me: Oh hey every boy.
Every boy: that your truck?
Me: Yeah.
Every boy: Wait, you drive a truck?
Me: Yeah.
Every boy: [no words]
Every boy: So, is that... were you... You don't really strike me as the kind of girl who drives a truck.
Me: [evil laugh inside]

Things I do with my truck:
Carry things. Blankets. Fly fishing stuff. Shoes. Every CD I own. Puzzles. Umbrella.

Move people places. And barbecue grills.

Spend every penny I earn feeding it with gasoline.

Listen to CDs because there is not an iPod hookup and that's just the way uh-huh uh-huh I like it. Did I just say iPod? Oh hey 2004. What I meant was iPhone. Yikes.

The problem:
Little sister gets her license in T-minus-seventeen days and she has made it quite clear that that truck has her name on it.

Once you go truck though, I don't think you go back. So I find myself in the market for a car that looks like a truck and acts like a truck but doesn't cost $200 to drive around the block.


  1. I believe that was MY Eagle Middle School Honor student sticker. I distinctly remember placing it there. (says the little sister who still finds herself fighting for credit despite the fact that it is actually detrimental to meaningful relationships). Which sister is also delighted to remember that you have a blog and find that you are still posting on comment on what that says about my communication habits in meaningful relationships.

  2. I love your ode to Idaho in this post! When I think of your family I think of that truck and those alfalfa fields surrounding that big brick house your family lived in.

  3. I love your ode to Idaho in this post! When I think of your family I think of that truck and those alfalfa fields surrounding that big brick house your family lived in.

    1. :) Sigh...those alfalfa fields... I still dream about them some nights.