A scar on my left elbow reminds me of one of the rare times when The Truck saw open road. We rented a hay field two towns over and we had loaded the old girl higher and more square then usual in order to get the remaining bales off the field and avoid a second trip. There was a new guy working with us that day as the driver, maybe all of 23 or 24 years old, and I remember flying down Route 138
after unloading at the hay mow, thinking, that this was the fastest I’d even seen this Old Truck go.
So we loaded up the hay with me stacking. Each tier was tight, cross-packed and square all the way up until the last three rows. I remember feeling particularly proud of my stack job too that day. We inched out of the field onto the roadway, and with our new driver and heavier load, even while sitting at the very top of the stack I could hear the old engine groan and the bed shift differently than ever before. But hey, the last load was on the truck and we were headed home. When you’re sixteen years old, what could be cooler than riding a load of hay on the road twelve miles back to the mow? So there I sat, a row or two down from the peak, just out of the wind but clearly visible for every passing car to see. This was my load of hay, my stack job and my right to ride it high all the way home.
As it turned out the smart-ass new guy had absolutely no brains about how to drive a truck differently when loaded. At the corner of Routes 106 and 138, where most people would consider slowing down and maybe even stopping at the stop sign before turning, the new guy down-shifted, and, seeing that no one was coming to his left, takes the turn in one continuous motion. Suddenly me, and most of the hay I was sitting on, were air-borne. The truck literally went right while the hay and I went left and after a moment of floating in air, everything landed in the middle of the two lane highway. By some miracle or luck, I hit a pile of hay before bouncing again onto the middle of the roadway. I was a bit dazed, bloody in spots, but otherwise okay. My elbow was sore for weeks.
Though the outcome could have been far worse, my boss had some choice words for the new guy when we got back to the barn. And yes, it required two loads to get that hay off the roadway and eventually back home into the barn. The new guy went on to wreck one or two other pieces of farm machinery before eventually “disappearing.” As for the Old Truck, it was all in a day’s work.
Post note: Like the pic in Part One, the image of the 1942 Ford truck pictured above is from the Internet. If you appreciate the shapes, form and beauty in things like old trucks, be sure to visit Jean Vincent’s Web site. Unfortunately, the site was over it’s bandwidth limit and not functioning at the time of this update. But may it will be up and working again soon. Thanks for reading.