Look out for pickup artists

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Reader response to last week’s love note to our 18-year-old truck let me know that many readers share our love and loyalty for their not-so-sweet rides. More than one also wondered how it was that I was writing about THEIR truck.

Two who were in the market for a truck themselves wondered what brand it is that we drive. I am not one for getting involved in the debate that characterize most any discussion of the merits of makes, models and preferred brands of American trucks.

That is a fool’s game. I know that Chevrolet has it’s proponents, while Ford guys are loyal. Then you have your wild hairs — the Dodge guys.

I can see the beauty inherent in any of these makes and models and anything that keeps moving forward under its own power while hauling lots of stuff (and perhaps pushing some snow along the way) is just fine by me.

Choice

Let’s just say that our preferred truck of choice wears a bow-tie and leave it at that. This is due entirely to a sense of loyalty earned by 18 years of low-maintenance and high-impact service delivered by our previous truck.

I know that many Ford and Dodge guys feel the same about their chosen models. I also know that one particular big red Ford has pulled our not-a-Ford out of a few scrapes from time to time.

Accordingly, I am never, not ever, going to malign any American made pickup truck. I also don’t want any hate mail.

Work

Since we were desperately seeking a work truck that could push a plow, pull a boat, and haul firewood to keep us from flat out freezing to death come winter, we were open to a not-so-gently-used truck.

We didn’t so much want “driven only by a sweet old lady on Sundays” as we did “driven into a barn on a daily basis.” Anything “pristine,” or “mint condition” need not apply. Dented, scratched and some surface rust made us swoon.

We found that most of the trucks — while beautiful — were far more than we were looking for. We viewed paint so pristine you could see yourself in the finish. We saw plush interiors and power everything. Some offered not only heated, but what appeared to be massaging seats. Wait a minute? Were we buying a truck, or a brothel?

I concede that it’s tough not to be seduced by the posh. Viewing the dual captain chairs and cockpit style dash caused us to cast a fresh — and somewhat jaded — eye on our old bench seat upholstered almost entirely in decades-old dirt and duct tape.

Did you know that new trucks come with the charming option to NOT be poked in the rear every time you slide in across the seat?

One seller apologized for his otherwise lovely truck not having power windows. This led Mr. Wonderful to note, dryly, that if he could fill an 8-foot bed with firewood he could probably manage to roll up a window.

Trouble

New(er) trucks also come with lots of lights and dials and things on the dash which, if you ask me, is just asking for trouble.

One had the airbag light prominently lit. I couldn’t fail to grasp the severity of a tiny backlit cartoon guy who was apparently being beaten to death by the airbag. That’s an eye-catcher all right.

Another light flashes if the gas cap isn’t on tight and, perhaps, if you enter the vehicle without a jacket and tie.

There is such a thing as “too much information.” We prefer to kick it old-style and stay slightly in the dark. If there is smoke, parts fall off, or you suddenly find yourself stranded at the side of the road — assume you should “service engine soon.”

Dating

Buying a vehicle these days is one part consumer information and two parts online dating. We trolled the Internet and we hit the streets. We called, e-mailed and sent text messages to a couple of likely prospects.

People who had simply parked their truck on the lawn for a quick wash and wax were not safe from our drive-by queries. Perhaps it WAS for sale, but secretly? Like any good pickup artist, we were down to making U-turns and shouting out car windows at attractive possibilities.

“Hey good lookin’, how would you like to come home with me?” By the time I was down to mouthing “call me” to unsuspecting drivers of older pickup possibilities I knew I had a problem — and, quite possibly, a reputation.

To my female readers, if you see a big-haired gal making eyes at your husband let me assure you that, as cute as he is, she probably isn’t after your man, but she might be making eyes at his truck.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt likes a rock-solid body with a little age. She welcomes comments c/o LifeOutLoud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460 or www.kymberlyfosterseabolt.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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