Out on my dad’s farm, is the upper storage section of an old dilapidated barn, that itself is only held up by two standing walls. Well, actually, one standing wall, on the short end, with a rather useless door in it, when you consider the fact that the other two walls are completely non existent. The second, extremely, leaning rock wall is along the back length of this genuinely historically hysterical edifice. Incidentally, this leaning tower of farmland history, has, in the effort to salvage its usefulness, for whatever purpose, creative storage, or otherwise, been kept dangling in the air, for at least thirty years or more now, by an old worn out metal water tank, on the opposite short end, and some cleverly set cedar logs in its center, that are strategically placed at intervals for support.
Standing under this structure, is an old 1961 Chevrolet full bed fleet side pick-up truck, which the family affectionately refers to as “Old Green”. Now days, you have to look close to determine that this vehicle actually used to be green. It tends to resemble rust with some light green highlights. The bed of this old warrior, was wooden, and has been rebuilt several times, but tends to keep a large hole in the center of it, which is commonly covered by an old rusty piece of sheet medal, when the need arises. The strong solid metal body, true evidence of its dinosaur status, since most of its current likenesses are mostly rubber, though all in tact is a mass of scrapes, scratches, dents and rust holes. Surprisingly, the windows are all still in tact, all though the door windows don’t roll up anymore. The same can’t be said for some of the other glass objects on this machine. The head lights are either broken or gone and only one tail light even attempts to burn. Both bumpers are dented and bent, but still attached, at least as long as the bailing wire holds. The grill has been gone for years, along with the shocks, the muffler, at least one of the mirrors, and the seat, which dad finally took out completely and replaced with a single captains chair behind the wheel, and a storage box for all the stuff that usually covered what had been left of the old seat anyway. The doors show their age too, they are hard to open, and even harder to keep closed again after you get them open.
Along with these facts, if a closer scrutiny were had, it would be obvious that it had been robbed of several of its parts, moving and otherwise, over the years, and they were never replaced, unless you count bailing wire.
Despite all this, and after sitting idle under that old barn for at least ten years, as well as countless other things too numerous to mention, it still cranked up and ran with a little gas put in the carburetor, and a battery to start it up. Cosmetically this relic is a nightmare, but this is also part of its charm. If it were in pristine condition, then it would just be another pretty classic. No, Green earned all his battle scars, and wears them proudly, and in spite of his condition and age, he seems to almost always be dependable when you turn the key.
According to my father, he bought this truck right off the show room, brand spanking new. I sincerely have my doubts about this since for the 42 years I have been around, it has looked the way I have described it. Of course, the new did get worn off on this vehicle rather promptly since on one of its maiden voyages to Doss, my father had to move a little farther over to his side than he should have had to, and Old Green took his first hit. This meeting connected the corner of a DIP sign with the full length of Old Green’s passenger side. This left a paint peeled slightly indented scrape from bumper to bumper. I have to wonder if this wasn’t the beginning of the end for this truck’s beauty. Dad never had that mark fixed, since he had determined this to be mostly a ranch and work truck anyway. Poor Green!
My sister even tried to repaint the truck for my dad once when she was very small. Apparently Old Green was still in fairly decent shape at this point, but she decided that it should be brown, instead of green. In deciding this, she mixed up a bucket of beautiful brown mud, and took a paint brush and began her self appointed task of repainting the truck. Of course, she did like the way the green contrasted with the brown, so instead of redoing the whole truck, she proceeded to paint her name in large letters across the whole side of the truck. Needless to say dad was not impressed, and he gave her the same paint brush and a bucket of clean water, and made her wash the truck the with the same tools she used to paint it.
This old truck was used to haul 100s of 1000s of turkeys and 1000s of hay bails throughout its life time. It was truly a ranch truck, and by the early 1970’s it had been retired from the public roads and used mostly on the ranch. By the time I was a small child, it already was lacking in shocks and other vital parts. Due to this it bounced ferociously both while driving, and with a little help when parked. I loved this feature about it. I would take my poor dog who loved me, and we would get in the bed and bounce the whole truck like it was a trampoline. Crazy dog would get on there every time with me too. You would think he would have learned. Heaven knows he was always ready to get off when I was done.
It was also short on brakes. Therefore we would usually sandwich it in between other vehicles when we did have to take it on the road to go haul hay in our upper fields. On one such occasion we had about 4 pick ups heading across to the upper fields when we met a vehicle coming in the opposite direction at a small one lane bridge. My dad was driving old green and signaled for my mom who was driving our 1978 Chevy truck to hurry through where he could pull off to the side and let the other vehicle through, because he could not stop fast enough. She got excited and slammed on the brakes instead of the gas and consequently, dad slammed into her rear end. It busted the front right lights and the radiator on Old Green and hung the two truck together by there bumpers. We managed to get them apart but Green wasn’t going anywhere but home for repairs. Of course that consisted of replacing the radiator, and bending the bumper back to as close to the original position as possible. The lights are still busted out to this day. That’s ok though, Green still had one good light on the other side. Of course it gave the affect of meeting a bouncing motorcycle when it came toward you at night. Luckily that was only on site not off property.
One year Green needed some mechanic work that dad could not do, and bailing wire and duct tape could not accomplish. He drove him in to his favorite mechanic with the flashers running (what few there were) on him and the 1978 following as his escort. He parked him by the curb and left him for the mechanic to deal with. The next day when he returned to pick him up, Dad’s mechanic laughed. He said that when he drove Green into the shop he had to navigate a bump in order to get into the bay, and when Green went over it, the bouncing started and it was still going after he had gotten out and walked clean around to the back of the truck. He said he hadn’t seen one quite like that before.
For many years we have joked about entering Green in the Fair parade. Of course he would have to be his own entry because the classic car club probably wouldn’t claim him classic in age or not. We always figured we could take him out to the Fair and sell rides on and in him for fun. A good bumpy obstacle course would work well for the most optimal experience.
Old Green even played host to spooks from 2001 to about 2006 when the second barn he was housed in, an old turkey barn, became the home of our annual haunted house and hay ride. He was regularly outfitted with skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, spiders (some real and others fake that we added), spooky eyes, ghosts, and scary music. And even though he didn’t have headlights, each one of his empty sockets glowed with eerie light. He was always a willing and very useful host. Oh yes, I almost forgot he regularly appeared to be eating a man (dummy) we stuffed under his hood as well. He was quite the actor, playing his part each year for our spooky event, glowing and grinning as he gobbled away.
Old Green has been a ranch icon since 1961, and even today in 2012 he still runs when outfitted with a battery. Dad says he does need a new fuel pump though if we want to drive him around for very long. Of course a fuel pump for him is a minor investment, unlike those of vehicles today. I am sure he will get this upgrade eventually even if he isn’t driven much anymore because too many of us have a soft spot for him and aren’t quite ready to let him sink away quietly into oblivion. Old Green is an old family friend that has earned his right to live on as well as the respect of being one tough old truck.