The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Under the Wire

Everybody’s got one


January 19, 2022

You can find one on just about any ranch, farm or horse place. They vary in color and age but otherwise there are striking similarities. Chances are you’ve got one, too. I’m talking about the ranch pickup. The old knock-around, drive anywhere, do anything all purpose vehicle.

This is not the shiny, occasionally washed version that even gets put in the garage or the machinery shed. I’m taking about the one that usually sets outside near the shed or beside the hay stack. Actually, it’s probably setting wherever the last person who used it left it.

Years ago, it came to the place in a role of honor. It was a source of pride. It was washed often, pampered and maybe even went to a prom or a wedding. Over the years things just sort of fell off (and on it!). Old Reliable got where it wasn’t much to look at but it always started and ran good.

The last time you tried to trade it in, the car dealer said to bring it back in on Tuesday. That’s when the city picked up the trash. At that point it got a permanent spot on the roster at home.

All these vehicles have several things in common. They get their oil changed every 50,000 miles or when none appears on the dip stick. Most come in two colors, fresh dirt and old dirt. Usually you will find them missing part of the chrome trim, at least one license plate and an inside window crank.

All four tires will be different makes and probably different sizes, too. The only mud and snow tire will be on the left front. The dash will be piled high with syringes, old medicine bottles, ear tags, pliers and a traffic ticket warning you to keep it off the highway.

This pickup will be worth $250 according to the car dealer in town. It will be listed on your bank financial statement at $9,000. If it is supplied to the hired man as part of his salary the boss will claim it’s worth about $200 a month and the hired man will say it’s worth about two cents.

In spite of all it’s short comings, the battered servant still commands respect around the place. It’s the one that always starts on a cold morning. It probably has towed the new pickup into town to get the “on board computer” fixed.

In this fast paced, changing world it is good to find something that is stable and reliable. I guess as I hit “middle age” I identify with these pickups.


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