I hate ads on TV. I’ve been muting every one of them for many years as you well know. It drove you crazy. Now, every time a Ford F150 truck ad appears, which is every night, I mute it as well. But tonight, I didn’t. I was overwhelmed by sadness and longing for you. More than usual. You WERE your F150.

I know you would have gone for the aluminum body―modern, tough, special―something no one else would consider right away; waiting to see how it worked out for you doing any and all chores that folks needed done. (Reminds me of when you were the first man upstate to wear a pair of crocs―school bus yellow no less. You found them in the PX at the V.A. where you worked twice a month. Your retirement job, you called it. They generated catcalls and worse but you loved them. Two years later, all your buddies sported crocs, usually navy or black. You just shook your head with a sly smile.)

Typically, when you first brought home a new F150, all shiny and pristine―you, with a grinning pristine face to match―me, delighted with your delight―friends and neighbors wasted no time acknowledging this useful new purchase. They wasted no time asking for, whining for, hinting for, help with

 Hauling logs, but first could you cut the trees down for us, cut’em up a bit?
 Taking all this construction debris to the dump for us, but first gathering it all up around the job site
 Power washing. Just throw the machine into the back of the truck and come over. Back down onto the beach; only the dock and boat need it this year
 Hauling my boat to the state put-in and at the end of the season, hauling it back out and dropping it off at the house
 Hauling my snowmobile trailer. Your machine fits in the bed, right?
 Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

Your unfiltered largess and inability to say “no” resulted in a totally trashed truck and battered bed. Scratched, dented, rusted, dirty. But you didn’t care; you loved the truck as it was, for what it could do, for being there for you―no matter what.

Oh, your friends had trucks of their own. But yours was for the dirty work, the tough jobs. Their trucks were completely and expensively protected. Dressed with top-of-the-line bed liners and covers, pristine as yours was for its first few days. Theirs were never soiled, smelled, or even loaded. Rather primped ― vacuumed, washed, and waxed ― whether they needed it or not. And, of course, nets were installed to prevent the grocery bags from toppling over.

But you, Jimbo, you didn’t care. You loved your truck. A lifelong motorhead, you serviced it yourself while you sang loudly and off-key to blasting rock n’ roll in the garage.

You were never reimbursed for gas, labor, or occasional truck washing if the load had been particularly gross. Perhaps a beer or two, but always a “thanks, Jimbo”. Still, you loved the chores, the truck, and especially being needed. A dirty scarred truck was a badge of worth for both you and the F150.

I forgot to mention the front seat: it was your office, your nest, your diner. Importantly, it was also the sleep and cuddle site for our dog, Porsche. You three were part of each other―a symbiotic trifecta = you, dog, truck. Dog and truck = black, lean, unadorned yet pedigreed, ever-ready for a ride or chore. You = strong, dependable, once handsome, always devoted.

It’s been eleven years since you took your last ride, changed the oil, or shoveled out the bed. And your younger daughter sold your last cherished F150 because she’s an urban dweller. Rest easy, Good Man, she understands your truckmance with your truck(s). By the way, despite its lack of physical beauty, she got a good price for it…

Thinking of you every day with love,

Your Adoring Widow

6 thoughts on “To Jim and His F150 by Leslie Sittner

  1. Leslie, good voice, which hooked me in your first words! Your husband seems like a great man. I’m sorry for your loss. Your writing is a beautiful tribute to him, which I enjoyed reading. I like your surprise ending with a sense of humor.

    Like

  2. Leslie, I loved this piece. While I never met Jim, his wonderful essence is communicated through your words and your colorful recollections of his actions and habits and ultimate wonderful nature. Thank you for sharing and, like all others, I am sorry you lost him far too soon.

    Like

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