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Sometimes I find myself depressed by the winter grey in Central Texas, may as well live someplace like Seattle! Then a sparkling blue day pops up and I feel rejuvenated, my need to get out and about increases, unfortunately the outside cleanup that was on hold through the rain beckons but my truck is in for repairs so hauling trash luckily will have to wait.
Up and down the roads here in the Oatmeal/Bertram area I see ranch hands picking up trash, hauling soggy hay and in general looking after the livestock, the weather report for tomorrow is more than likely, rain, ugh! Ratty, dirty pickups are everywhere.
Often on grey days I find myself drawn to the local library wherever I am, I have researched in the best and some of the most unusual libraries in the states. Library of Congress in D.C., Seattle, Denver, Bozeman, Taos, Santa Fe, Austin, Los Angeles, Fairbanks, UCLA, USC, U of MT, U of AK and a Carnegie Donated Library in a small Colorado mining town, population 450 and now Bertram, Texas. I have discovered that the local facility is getting new digs, yup that’s right folks, a fantastic new building due to open late 2010. More about that in a few weeks, today is about trucks. I went to the library to look up items on TRUCKS!
I was in the City Weird recently for a meeting and pulled into the parking lot lookin’ for a spot, I passed truck after truck, old, new, fancy, dirty, loaded and so forth, I’ve lived all over and states like Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and parts of Arizona rival Texas in truck population but nowhere do trucks reflect their owners more than in the Lone Star state. I was reminded of something I read years ago and that brought me to the Library to use the net looking for a book called How to Be Texan by Michael Hicks. In print a great description of the difference between Texas city and country trucks as follows:
The only absolutely stock trucks in Texas belong to Corporations, the rest are fitted with various extras and that can tell you about the profession, tastes and predilections of the owners. City trucks invariably have a fitted tool box in the bed. Country trucks have tools spread around liberally on the floor and dash of the cab for quick access. Rural drivers like to recall events in their lives by the dents in their trucks and will seldom take the trouble of having one removed, regarding it as a sign of character.
City truck drivers consider a dent to be defacement. City trucks have four-wheel drive (possibly for negotiating the treacherous parking garage ramps in the Galleria). Rural drivers view four-wheel drive as laughable (if you really get stuck, you’ll need a tractor to get you out). City trucks are washed and have heavy-duty everything. Country trucks are much more organic and look as if gypsies and small animals live in them. Country trucks have Texas literally stuck all over them.
This quote is still current thirty years later, I drive a pickup that fits somewhere in the middle which also includes various K9 necessities for my best friends. Years ago when my kids were young we had a neighbor who owned a Chevrolet Dealership in our small community. He always said “FORD is a four letter word”, he would be disappointed in me!
So driving round and round the crowded parking lot on a deadline I started counting trucks, 1, 2, 3, 60 etc. Looked like trucks outnumbered cars at least six to one, well this was the capital of TEXAS after all. Surprisingly more than half fit in the “Country” category and I found myself mentally picturing the owners. Ahh Haa a well dressed man in a spiffy business suit carrying a brief case stepped into my line of sight, at last a potential parking space! All I had to do was follow him without being too obvious to his Cadillac or Beamer and I could stop the endless circling.
Up one isle, down the next, a shiny black Caddie was looming, I knew it; the guy was most likely in Politics and on his way to the next fundraiser as he worked his way up the ladder. Pulling keys from his pocket he stopped beside the vehicle, turned and indicated to me that the space was mine, got in, started up, pulled out and meandered out of the lot in his colorless, mud caked ANCHIENT Ford truck, smoke spewing from the tail pipe and bits of hay flying from the bales in the back…the last thing I saw was the bumper sticker, “Keep Austin Weird, Y’all”.