Today's theme is Ford Friday and boy does it make me miss my family's truck.
If you have read anything I post you will know I have a FoST.
You would also know that I love trucks and long for the days of yesteryear.
The first car I ever drove was my family's white 1999 F-150 Lariat. We would do yard work every weekend and bring loads of waste up to the town dump/compost piles so it was a typical day for me. I jumped out of the truck bed after sweeping out the remaining grass clippings, walked over to the stow the rake in the back and my dad yelled out "you're driving home" and tossed me the keys.
I hesitated but said "ok."
"Go straight here."
"But home is to the left."
He said to drive to the high school but little did he know the road was torn up and all the caps were raised. My first driving experience was dodging manhole covers on a torn up two way road while oncoming traffic was swerving into my lane to avoid their manhole covers and various construction equipment. Eventually I made it home alive, learned to drive this and our Suburban and began a lifelong love affair with the F-150.
My dad got a new car that year and the truck became available to me whenever I wanted so long as I paid for gas. I drove to school and was eventually bequeathed a parking spot by a senior I knew. Spots were not assigned but, as is human nature, once you have a space anywhere you mentally associate it as yours. That spot was mine for two years. When I was in college the spot was my sister's for two years. When she was in college the spot belonged to my brother for two years. Our white F-150 was a mainstay in the high school parking lot for 6 years.
Between those years it continued to serve us as a work truck. I hauled countless loads of gravel, dirt, mulch, lawn clippings, trees branches and stumps, leaves and rocks. It moved my sister and myself to and from college for a total of 6 years. It was associated with my person by everyone who knew me. I had a psychology teacher, my tennis coach in high school, laugh about me driving such a large truck (I wasn't in class). Some classmates asked "why?"
"He's so small!" (when he coached me as a freshman and sophomore I was 5'6" and he was well over 6')
My friends loved when I drove because we could hang out in the truck bed. Nothing was out of the way for us. I drove through blizzards to go bowling, over embankments to leave backed up parking lots from concerts, through flooded streets to get home, transported all the gear for a snowboarding trip for 8, got my first (and currently only) speeding ticket during that snowboarding trip, and always felt invincible. I pulled over on that snowboard trip onto a snowbank because it was my truck's 150k mile mark and I wanted to remember that day.
I had parts fly off while driving (towards a cop car behind me). I kept a part bin in the cab. I used entire paychecks to fill up the tank. I payed for the tank to be replaced when the straps rusted out and had it bouncing underneath the car when we hit a bump (a recall occurred three years after I did this repair). I scared the crap out of my friend by revving the engine while he leaned against the front bumper. I made someone I didn't like leave a face print on the back window when he wouldn't get out of the truck bed while I was trying to drive away. I jumped numerous vehicles, performed a multiple point turn on a tight, North End of Boston one way road, drifted through snowbanks, spent 10 years in it at Patriots games cramming 6 full grown men into that small space. I bartered with a repair shop to give me silver paint so I could cover up a terribly rusted rear panel. I worked leather conditioner into the bed cover after my dad never unfolded it for 3 years and it dried out, shrunk and refused to fit.
The absolute best part of everything was how the 5.4L V8 gave me a smile that I still haven't been able to replicate.
In short, this truck made me love cars.
Which is why I was terrified when my brother called to say he was rear-ended. This truck saved my dad's life when he was at a complete stop and a Buick driven by a young girl talking on the cell phone plowed into him at 45mph. Her car went completely under the truck and was totaled. The truck's frame bent the bed into the cab a bit but was otherwise unharmed. That was fixed years before I got to drive. My sister was rear-ended by someone but their car bounced off the truck leaving only a dent in the metal bumper. My brother's collision was low speed but I was concerned because it was a 14 year old truck in the northeast.
It was Ford on Ford action. Word on the street is that the girl who hit him was texting at the time, though we could not confirm it.
My family thought nothing was wrong but look at that picture. I saw the left side. I knew it wasn't supposed to be like that.
Crawled under the truck and looked around. It wasn't right at all. That should not be that way. The frame was cracked, stress fractures throughout and there was nothing to weld as 14 years of salt over 200k miles did their worst. I was devastated. We all were.
That picture at the top with grass in the bed...that was the next day. I had to do work still and wanted to make the truck's last days worth it. Our insurance was not going to let us drive with the frame the way it was. Heck, the garage we went to didn't even want us to. A week later, a man showed up with a flatbed to take it away. I took the badges off it as mementos of all the good times I've had, watched him hook it up, load it on and drive away. My sister wasn't home. My brother wasn't home. My mom couldn't watch.
I won't lie, onions were cut that day (and I think someone in this office is playing a cruel prank on me now...GET RID OF THE ONIONS DAMMIT!)
Long story short, I miss this truck terribly. It is glorified in my mind beyond all reasonable levels. In my head the leather seats aren't cracked, the speakers for the 6 disc cd changer are glorious, the truck bed isn't old and worn, the paint is perfect, the rust is gone and the bed cover can actually roll out.
And that's all I care about.
Feel free to share any nostalgic moments/stories you may have in regards to a car.