"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

The old dump truck

By on March 23, 2020 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Carolyn Black

By Carolyn Black

Every little boy knows, without being taught, how to make all the sounds of a truck, the shifting of gears, the gunning of the engine, honking of horns and the list goes on.

They all dream of owning a truck, the bigger the better, and my husband wasn’t different.

We lived on a farm, far from city life, and it was only natural he needed a truck, but they do cost money, not only for the purchase, but parts, repair, insurance… again, the list goes on.

It was only natural since he wanted a truck, he found just the truck.

The price was right since it needed some repair. The owner (now former owner) guaranteed us that the truck (a dump truck no less) had run well until he parked it in their graveled yard.

All my husband needed to do was tinker around, and all were assured it would soon be running like a top.

It didn’t start — no surprise — so with the family truck we already owned, I was elected to tow him home where all this magic could happen.

A long strong rope was found and tied to the back bumper on the family truck to the front bumper of our NEW old truck.

Well, unknown to us, the brakes didn’t work well either, so at the first glimpse of the STOP sign where we were turning to head for home, I started braking — and watched the big NEW old truck getting closer and closer in the rearview mirror.

Thinking the trucks might collide, I pushed on the gas, to tighten the towline, but since the line was dragging on the ground, the front right tire of the NEW old truck rolled over the tow line. WAP, WAP, the towline wrapped around the tire, and due to its age and years in the sun unprotected, the rubber crumbled and the right corner of the dump truck was sitting on the pavement.

Alas, after what I had done wrong was explained (never-to-be forgotten), it was decided I should push him home.

But first, the dump truck tire had to be changed.

On that particular truck, (maybe this is common) but the front tires were several inches smaller than the rear tires, and the only “spare” was to use one of the dually tires off the back of the dump truck.

It took awhile to loosen (WD40 came in handy), and get it onto the front where the other tire had been destroyed. The truck sat at a strange angle, with the unevenness of the front wheels.

With the towline untied and heaved into the back of the family truck, off we went for home.

The kids and I, sitting in the family truck, couldn’t see a thing over or around, but I started pushing the BIG TRUCK, my husband’s arm hanging out the window urging me to go faster, slow down or whatever.

He had said he was going to shift the BIG truck into low gear to slow or stop. This could work, as it was only a couple more miles to go, and thankfully the road was a seldom-traveled.

Pushing along, often the two vehicles drifted apart on a flat or downgrade.

As we approached home, there was a bit of a hill, so I was up very close, pushing the BIG TRUCK. We could see him reflected in his rear view mirror, and I could see him working the levers, but I had been told to “stay close” and I did.

How men seem to know what all those knobs, levers, etc. do is beyond me, and in the many years we were married, my husband seemed to know just which one needed to be pushed, pulled, shifted or whatever, but… this time the knowledge failed him.

Without warning, the bed on this big old dump truck that had sat outside through many winters, gathering the moisture that keeps Western Washington Green, and growing who know what all kinds of algae, moss with accumulated wind-blown branches, leaves, twigs and assorted stuff, started to raise.

All of a sudden, not only couldn’t I see him in his rear-view mirror, but gallons and gallons of green muck and debris came flooding out of the dump bed onto and over the hood of the family truck.

We weren’t attached, and all I could think of was to stop, which, thank the Almighty, the family truck did… and I watched the NEW old truck slowly roll towards our driveway (dump bed raised), down the driveway where it shuttered to a stop.

Truthfully, I don’t remember it ever moving from where it had stopped.

It sat in the side yard, three tires on the duallies on the back, and one big tire and one little tire in the front. 

I don’t remember what happened to it, maybe sold, and maybe traded, but it was always a memory of best-laid plans can change mighty quickly.

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