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Story by Lois Grace

I'll admit, I have a bit of an attitude about pickup trucks.  What started out as a simple, utilitarian vehicle has now become a status symbol, one with bells and whistles most owners have no idea how to use.  Trucks with climate control, heated seats, global navigation systems, and tires tall enough to climb a small building, yet what does one do with all this??  In my opinion?  Look silly.

I have no idea what the first pickup looked like or when it was built.  My brother has a 1929 Model A Roadster pickup, which is very cool, but I've got to wonder:  a convertible PICKUP?  A truck with no roof seems highly impractical, and to a farmer buying a vehicle for use this might be a turn-off.  But then again, did the farmers of the Depression era care about the cool factor?  Maybe they did after all. We may never know.

But to me it appears that pickup buyers nowadays care a bit too MUCH about the cool factor.  There is no practicality now in pickup trucks, since the focus is on creature comforts and looking bigger and badder than the next guy. There is little thought given, so it would seem, to what the truck can actually do in the way of work, despite the ad claims to the contrary.  Biggest payload of any truck! shouts one ad.  Tow package included! screams another.  But do any of the bozos that buy these monsters actually haul or tow with it?  Not around here.  I live in a huge urban area, so it's understandable that the guys (and gals) who buy and drive these poor excuses for trucks have a limited amount of space to play with them.  There's not a lot of open farmland around here, or livestock needing feed delivered to them.  These trucks are used for hauling a stroller and a couple of toddlers to the closest supermarket!  Of course, this begs the question, if this is what you do with it, then why buy a truck?  Because of the Cool Factor.

The first pickup I knew intimately was, of course, Vernon (my 1959 single Cab).  And, as one of my Dad's trucks, he worked hard:  he pulled stumps, and toted sod and dirt and manure.  At one point, he even transported actual cars in his cargo bed!  They were Crosleys, small cars to be sure, but what Ford F250 can say that? As the saying (sorta) goes, these new fancified trucks are all show and lots of go;  Vernon was no show and no go! But, he still got the job done.  It just took a little longer, that's all. And recently, I took a friend to our local IKEA store for some furnishings for his new apartment.  No, we didn't go in Vernon, we used my dad's 1981 diesel Rabbit pickup, Biff.  It was hilarious to watch the woman in the loading zone next to us try to fit a long flat box into her Chevy Suburban.  After trying for several minutes (with help from the store employee), they finally gave up and tied it on the roof rack.  We drove off several moments later with a captain's bed, a computer desk and 4 bags of assorted goodies tucked into Biffs bed, all fully contained inside the cargo area of the vehicle.  Now That's a pickup!!

This brings me to another annoying trait of car manufacturers:  calling things that aren't trucks TRUCKS.  A Chevy Suburban or Tahoe is NOT a truck.  A Ford Explorer or even the enormous, bloated Excursion cannot be called a truck.  Sure, they may be built on the foundation of a truck chassis, but they don't have a cargo bed in back, and have more than one seat!  See, it's so simple.

You can now buy so-called pickups with room to seat six, four doors, and numerous other amenities that Vernon and I snort at.  Sure, A/C is great, in it's proper place, and power steering never hurt anybody.  But neither did good old manual steering, which is what a truck should have.  I take a hard-line attitude about this subject.  Pickup trucks have TWO DOORS, and ONE seat. Anything more and it's a station wagon.  Oh yeah, and to you-know-where with the term SUV.  These silly contraptions have about as much S in them as a jump rope, not to mention the U is also quite lacking in any of them.  OK, they can be called a vehicle if you must, but I draw the line there. 

Pickup trucks go way back in my memory, to my grandpa's 1948 Ford.  It was black, not shiny and never washed, with that peculiar pinched stare that only the 48s and 49s had.  I think it might have been a step side, since I remember riding on the side as Papa bounced through the pasture on his farm in Nebraska.  That truck had one seat, a big steering wheel, no A/C and my grandpa behind the wheel, going anywhere he darned-well pleased.  That included driving right off the dirt road in front of the farmhouse, and careening wildly through a hoof-marked pasture in search of his cattle.  Can you imagine doing that in one of those sissy trucks they sell now?  Not even another Ford could match that.

Believe the ads for imitation pickup wannabe's if you want, but don't part with your hard earned cash too soon if you're thinking of buying one.  You could have a whole lotta REAL trucks for what you'd pay for one fake.

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