I grew up with pickup trucks. Mud-spattered farm trucks with hay on the floorboards, camping trucks with a Coleman stove and cooler stashed in the back and small-town trucks, washed and polished for Saturday night dates and tailgate parties.
I also grew up with one very special truck.
Jessie was a red Ford, my dad’s truck, as much a member of our family as the dog. She went on camping vacations from one side of Canada to the other and across the U.S. too. Never driven in winter, she’d come out in summer, tuned up and ready for our next adventure.
She helped me move across Canada twice and even made it to my wedding to Tech Guy, parked by the country church, white bows on her doors.
Cars came and went but Jessie was always there, steady and unchanging, reassuring, safe.
A lot like my dad.
When I lost my dad, Jessie was a poignant reminder of him and the love we shared.
Living in England, I couldn’t keep Jessie, by then a grand old lady in truck years.
“Sell it for scrap,” said well-meaning friends.
But I couldn’t because Jessie was a link to my father. She spent several years in a garage. When I visited, I’d look at her, sit in her sometimes and remember.
Finally, I had no choice. I had to sell Jessie. Then fate intervened, bringing me the perfect buyer.
A guy in his early twenties who appreciates vintage vehicles wanted to give Jessie a new home. He had her on the road for the first time this summer. He uses her for work and camping trips too. In pictures he’s shared, Jessie looks as glossy red and well cared for as ever.
I’ll have another truck someday. Until then, I give pickup trucks to characters I write about. To the puzzlement of my English day job colleagues, I also have a Ford F-150 model truck on my desk.
And Jessie’s last license plate sits on a bookcase in my writing room, making me smile every time I see it.
Somehow, I think my dad knows. I’m guessing it makes him smile too.