Friday, April 18, 2014 - free extensions for joomla

GUEST COLUMN • Mark Magnan | Almost man’s best friend

Of course the standard for man’s best friend is a dog. If you are in Texas, your dog and pickup truck run close as to which one is really your best friend. The truck won’t give you much for unconditional love but then again a dog can’t carry a load of lumber home either. (That previous statement might be debated a bit if there is an Alaskan in the reading audience) Here in Texas we take pickup trucks seriously. Granted they are not living beings, but they are every bit a part of our lives. Each one in a way reflects characteristics about its owner. Now before I get angry letters from dog lovers, the above comparison was mostly satire; we’ll just leave cats out of this.

As a boy, a true Texan dreams of the day he gets his first pickup. Regardless of the style or color, or even condition, that first pickup seems like the most wonderful vehicle on the face of the Earth, or Texas as the case may be. It is usually love at first sight, then starts the dreams of all the loads that will be hauled and trips taken. It is the beginning of a relationship that lastsz for a long time; it just moves from one truck to the next. None of the past trucks are forgotten, but just left for the next in line in a continuation of the dream of every male Texan. Oh yes, we all dream about the exotic sports car or the occasional motorcycle, but we know that life is not complete without a pickup truck.
The relationship with the pickup truck goes way back, probably to father or other relative that ignited that fire within the Texas soul. I remember an uncle’s farm. We often rode down to a stock tank in the back of the truck. It wasn’t far, but we always opted to ride. Honestly by the time we all loaded up, turned the truck around and headed in the right direction, we could have walked the distance. But that wasn’t the point; we were positioned on the edge of the tailgate, which was suspended by a real chain, watching the ground move beneath our feet. It was an experience that never grew old. We often rode all over the property for various reason in the same spot in the bed of that truck. I believe that was the first truck (or vehicle) that I drove. It wasn’t complicated at all; once it was started it was simple to get moving. The steering was a bit tough on a young kid, but I knew I could handle it; that skill was in my blood. The big excitement was riding up and down the old country road in front of the house, visiting a neighbor or some other location where getting onto the gravel road was necessary. We never felt like this was a hazardous way to ride; of course the truck really didn’t travel that fast. The most dangerous thing that could happen was for the tire to kick up a rock and hit you in the leg as it dangled over the edge of that tailgate.
As we got older the realization of having our own pickup truck became a reality. Once we achieved that milestone, we used our trucks for all sorts of things: hauling this and that, helping out friends and just traveling the open road. It is truly a multipurpose vehicle. That is one reason that the pickup truck has become what it is today. They are still useful for hauling, but the cab interior more resembles a luxury car now. But that is not all bad. We can still be comfortable while moving a load of firewood. And if the day is nice and you want to switch to the natural 2/60 air conditioning, all you need to do is press a button to roll down that far window. Of course there are all sorts of jokes about Texans and their pickups. Some Texans dream about snow and rain so they can roam the streets looking for someone stuck in a ditch. Then they burst into action, hooking up the straps, flipping her into 4WD and pulling some helpless Yankee out of their icy prison. Then casually loading up and driving away looking for the next “damsel in distress”.
We live in a state that has a lot to be proud of, and our love of trucks is just part of the culture. Just as the horse is a part of Texas history, so is the pickup truck and the men (and women) that use them each day. Of course there are the big, loud trucks with big wheels, that is just the Texas version of the northerner with a Corvette; he probably has something to prove.