The other morning, my wife Helena and I were sitting on the front porch goofing off when I showed her a photo of this wonderful 1968 Dodge pick-up.
“See this? It’s exactly like the one I had in high school.” Her response was epic.
First, some background.
The truck was purchased for our family business but in our house, business and personal matters were so intertwined and co-dependent that you couldn’t tell work from non-work. And since I was spoiled something awful, the truck was mine to use.
It had a slant six; a three-speed (3-on-the-tree) standard transmission and no radio. Both my older brother Alex and I learned how to play harmonica behind its wheel.
It came from the factory blue and when I was 16 I put some very distinctive racing stripes on the hood.
I used that truck to go to Sudbury Secondary School; I used it for trips to the 69 Drive-In Theatre and I used the Dodge to haul oodles of empties to the beer store on Lorne Street. I carted my friends to parties to the Bowling Alley on Notre Dame Avenue. And I ran errands for my dad.
By any measure, the truck made me cool.
Among my fondest memories: Driving around Sudbury with our slobbery old St. Bernard Casey in the back; her drool flying off in the wind. Winter and summer alike.
And I just remembered something else about my dog-and-truck show.
At one time, I had a part-time job at the McDonald’s on Regent Street. There, if a cooked burger sat unsold for more than 10 minutes, it was deemed unsaleable.
But on my shifts, I didn’t toss the old burgers. I kept them aside. Some days, there were so many they’d fill a green garbage bag, which I would then truck home to feed Casey.
Seems to me Casey and the truck started getting old and frail at about the same time and same rate and eventually, both had to be put out of their misery.
I also just realized I’ll be having more fond memories of that truck come October 5th and 6th because for the first time ever, I will be a judge in the annual Great Canadian Truck King Challenge.
The organizer, my old friend Howard Elmer, invited me to help compare all the latest pickups and I’m childishly excited at the proposition. It’ll be my first time. Watch for an update in a future column.
Meantime, even before the competition starts, I know that, no matter how high-tech or powerful or beautiful those new trucks will be, in some way I will be comparing each and every one of them to that old Dodge.
I guess it’s sort of like a first love.
Which brings me back to Helena’s response when I showed her the picture of the Dodge. And before I tell you what she said, I have to tell that how she said them was just as important.
After I told her I had that truck in high school, she didn’t, say, pause for reflection. Her reaction was too instinctive and heartfelt; and I never saw it coming.
Her reaction was so fast it reminded me of that saying “you never hear the bullet that kills you.”
Here’s what Helena said after I told her I had the truck.
“Really? And you didn’t have any girls!!?”
It was right at the top of her brain, the one she used to earn a Master’s Degree in Science from the University of Toronto. She was quite unable to reconcile my having that truck with the fact that I didn’t get any dates. That’s right. Any.
What she said was accurate but it wasn’t necessarily something I liked talking about. She then reminded me that one of her high-school boyfriends drove-of all things-a yellow VW Bug! (Try carting Casey around town in that toy!)
Anyway, I guess we can stay married awhile longer.
SASKATOON – – From 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Wednesday August 26th at 303 50th Street East, the proud folks at Cervus Equipment hosted clients and friends to a barbeque as they celebrated the fact that the company was selected as the 2014 North American Peterbilt Dealer of the Year. The announcement was made by Peterbilt in February.
SAVANNAH, GA – The trailer manufacturer Great Dane this week made some changes to its leadership team, including two newly created positions.
OSHAWA, ON — The Mackie Group, CCT Auto-Trans Inc., Verspeeten Cartage, Hard-Co Construction, the Canadian Red Cross, and Clarington Contracting Services want kids to get up close and personal with their iron so the youngsters get to know and love trucks. That’s why those operators, as well as numerous others are, are participating in the third annual Touch-a-Truck event on Friday, August 21st, 2015 from 5pm to 8pm at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa.
TORONTO – Some run around downtown Toronto, exiting and entering their vehicles up to 80 times a day. Others have highway runs in tractor trailers. Around UPS, the tractor-trailer drivers are known as the “Feeder Group”. One Feeder driver simply hauls trailers back and forth across the Buffalo-Fort Erie border all day long. He’s done it for more than 30 years.
Some live in Montreal others in Nanaimo. Tim Noble, from Peterborough, ON., says he has driven 1.7 million klicks or, as he put it, “42 and a half times around the world.”
A long time ago, I had the incredibly good fortune to fly from Toronto all the way to India (ask me why in person, not in public) and the trip was in four stages, all told–from T.O. to Rome; then Rome to New Delhi, then home via Rome again. It was my first trans-Atlantic trip, (my first trans-anything trip actually). And one of the best things about it was the inflight movie. Remember, in those days, all passengers watched the same show, like it or not. It just so happened that on all four very long legs of that voyage, Alitalia screened Coal Miner’s Daughter. It’s the real life story of Loretta Lynn, as delivered in an Oscar-winning performance by Cissy Spacek. Yup. I saw it four times.
10) You call all cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles vehicles, as in, “where’d you park your vehicle?” 9) Your main family vehicle growing up was a pick-up. 8) The pick-up always had greasy spare parts rolling around in the back. […]
ARLINGTON, VA – Truck driver turnover rates at large and small U.S. truckload fleets each fell 12 percentage points in the first quarter of the year, according to figures released Tuesday by the American Trucking Associations.
LISLE, IN — The share price of Navistar Trucks jumped more than two percent to $22.63 Tuesday, a jump some analysts attribute to rumors of a new partnership between General Motors and Navistar to produce a new medium-duty line of GM trucks. A spokesman for Navistar told todaystrucking.com the company won’t comment on rumors and speculation. “Navistar has made no announcements and has no information to share,” he said.General Motors also announced earlier this month an agreement with Isuzu to sell a low-cab-forward Chev for sale in the U.S. but made by Isuzu. The six new models – the Chevrolet 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500 and 5500 HD – are based on the Isuzu N-Series.
In an article in the Detroit Free Press, GM Vice President of U.S. Fleet and Commercial Services Ed Peper comments: “Bringing low cab-forward trucks back to our portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and provides customers with a versatile lineup of trucks, vans and crossovers.”
WINDSOR, ON – Good news for truckers heading across the border at Windsor-Detroit. After four years of construction, the portion of 401 between North Talbot Road and the E.C. Row Expressway will open Sunday at midnight, so your loads won’t have to hit all those grade-level red lights anymore. Not only that but after Sunday, your eastbound trucks won’t have to use that pesky roundabout either.
Logan Township, NJ – Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. (MFTA) has announced that Jecka Glasman will succeed Todd Bloom as President and CEO, effective July 1. The announcement was made by Marc Llistosella, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia, and President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation (MFTBC), the parent company of MFTA.
SALMO, B.C. – B.C.-based Sutco Contracting has just added six new Kenworths to its fleet of 70 but these six are even greener than the usual forest shade of their other trucks.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are proposing standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution. Furthermore, for the first time, trailers will be subject to fuel efficiency and GHG standards.
The proposed vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021-2027, and apply to tractors, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. They would achieve up to 24 percent lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018. Additionally, the proposed standards:
Rely on cost-effective technologies that are currently available or in development.
Do not mandate specific technologies.
Allow banking and trading of emissions credits for most manufacturers.
TORONTO — Transcourt Tank Leasing, a Canadian leader in leasing and long-term rental of liquid and dry bulk tank trailers, is on a growth roll.
In mid-April, the Toronto-based company used ExpoCam 2015 to launch their new Montreal office and in mid-May,Transcourt made a bold statement at the Peace Region Petroleum Show in Grande Prairie. “The West has always been one of our main markets in Canada. Business has slowed down, there is no denying the fact, but it will eventually pick up”, stated Joe Quaresma, Vice-President of Leasing for Western Canada.