She Purrs Like A…


I hear chains rattle against metal and know some heavy piece of equipment is being hoisted.  I cringe and run through the backdoor and out to the driveway.  No matter how many times I preach, it doesn’t seem to sink in.  He never asks for a spotter.  “One day…” I say, my voice trailing off as he dismisses my comment with a wave of his hand. He’s too excited about this new truck to consider safety.

He pulls himself up onto the mechanic’s body of the Ford F-450 truck and hooks the chain. He turns, grinning at me, showing a thumbs up, hops down and pulls himself back into the cab of the backhoe. The motor revs and the bucket lifts.  Several pops and metal wrenching sounds later, the mechanic’s body lifts and the truck is reduced to cab, metal frame and wheels.

 It’s his new love and to tell the truth, I’m a bit intimidated. Even naked she’s sleeker than his old pickup, younger, with dual back wheels, and she purrs with that diesel engine of hers.  Her exterior is shiny without a single blemish, her interior, a supple tan leather, with automatic dimming lights that whisper romance.  

His old love, the Red Pickup, finally died. She was the woman I could never be.  She was tough, hard-bodied, enjoyed four-wheeling adventures through uncharted territories.  She didn’t have brains, but she did have brawn, get up and go, and a heavy-duty drive train. She hated me and I never liked her much either.  Bruce was certain once we got to know one another, we’d be friends, but we ended up ignoring each other, our only commonality being Bruce.  As long as he loved both of us, we tolerated each other from a distance.

Three weeks ago, Red choked and coughed when Bruce started her. She limped out of the driveway, sputtered to a stop on the road just past our house, wheezed one last time, and died. She sits in the lane now, tag-less, without insurance, and awaiting the yearly equipment auction. I’d have felt sorry for her if we didn’t have such a volatile history.

Bruce didn’t grieve long.  He found the new white Ford diesel in an online Government auction in Buford, South Carolina.  He bid, won, and took off the next morning to pick her up.  He didn’t ask me to accompany him. “I know you have a lot of work waiting for you this week,” he said.  “Ben’s home for Spring Break. He can go with me.” 

Twenty hours later, I heard her distinct purr as Bruce  coaxed her into the driveway. He walked straight past me, into the house, exhausted, and fell into bed without even a kiss hello.  “Must have been a long, hard ride,” I mumbled.

He’s been with her ever since.  Tonight Bruce was out in the garage, welding and painting a flatbed body for her, all sleek and smooth with twelve inch treated pine board sides around the edge.  She has a new trailer hitch and he’s ordered one of those vanity plates for her. “FLATBDN” it says.

I went outside just a few minutes ago and wandered over to Old Red. Opening her driver’s side door,  I slipped inside and patted her dash. She wasn’t looking so bad now.  I wondered how much it would cost to get her running again.  The two of us watched as Bruce backed his new love out of the stall and parked her under the huge oak tree. He got out and took a rag from his pocket, wiping a smudge from her fender. He stepped back and smiled.

“They’re calling for high winds tonight Red, and that tree’s leaning,” I said, pulling up the door handle to warn Bruce. Something stopped me.  I let go of the handle, leaned back in the seat and smiled myself. For the first time ever, Red and I agreed.

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2 Responses to “She Purrs Like A…”

  1. curly Says:

    Great story Train!

    Flatbed huh….

    We can’t help it. We love those things. But don’t worry, there are certain things the truck just cannot do. He’ll come back when he gets hungry.

  2. train-whistle Says:

    thanks c. glad you stopped by to read. yeah, he does come back when he gets hungry! 🙂

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