Thursday, September 5, 2013

Betty Lou

I remember the year my parents brought her home, the white Apache Chevy truck.  It was the spring of 1965.  On a frugal farm budget, this was a momentous event, so momentous in fact that my dad almost let me go with them to pick her up.  At the last minute, he couldn't quite justify letting a kid sluff school, even if grades were excellent and morale was high. It was quite a let-down, but I didn't question it.  No doubt he thought if he started coming up with reasons to miss class, it might get out of hand.

They did, however, time their return to coincide with the closing bell of school so I could ride the rest of the way home with them.  It's one of those moments when you imagine angels singing as you lead the parade.

Betty Lou was a good worker.  She hauled those dams I mentioned yesterday, along with countless tons of hay.  She also took us up the canyon for cookouts.  Her long bed accommodated someone lying down, whereas Old Blue, her predecessor was too short for that.  I remember that because once I rode that way on a rare trip to SLC.  The thought of letting a kid lie in the back of an open truck now boggles the mind, but back then it wasn't a concern.  There weren't any freeways back then so maybe the speeds didn't get so high.  Ten years ago, Dad gave his old Chevy to my son, Nik.  The only caveat he made to Nik was that if he ever fixed it up to sell, he would have to give his grandpa half the money.

My recollection is that my dad told me he named the truck Betty, after Betty Boop.  It was after it came into Nik's hands that it became Betty Lou.  He even has her name stenciled in white across the windshield. Betty Lou is still a good worker.  She saved the day when Nik didn't have another transportation.  It's hauled household goods during many moves and made endless trips to the dump.  Her doors don't lock automatically and you have to lock the driver's door or it will come open on a turn and almost literally throw you out.  Nik found this out the hard way.

Betty Lou doesn't have air conditioning, other than those little windows you can tip towards yourself to divert any breeze caused as you drive along. The front seat is big enough to accommodate four people easily.  She doesn't have seat belts, which I find quite unnerving.

All this came to mind as Nik and I went to SLC Saturday to pick up some bed toppers.  We had been working and painting and looked rather disheveled I'm sure.  He had a handkerchief wrapped around his head, do-rag fashion and with his goatee and growing mustache, looked a bit like a biker in an old truck. Windows down, tearing along at freeway speeds with both windows open, I looked a bit like the spawn of Richard Simmons and Winonna Judd. He turned up the radio and sang along.  I don't know what he was singing because the noise was unbelievable.  I had no idea cars flying along on the freeway could be so noisy.  He kept saying stuff but I couldn't catch the words so finally said, "Now I know why Dad lost his hearing!"

I'll admit that there was about 10% of me (the part that wasn't terrified) that could appreciate what a good time we were having, creatures from a current time pretending we lived in a kinder world.

Miss Betty Loud, you keep on truckin, Girl!

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