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When counting blessings of rural life, don't forget the truck

Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009, at 1:34 PM

Sometimes you read or hear people in our area complain about the fact they live in a small town. They cite the lack of shopping or restaurant choices, or complain that too many people gossip or spread false rumors.

Those things may all be true.

But maybe since I didn't grow up here, I often notice the great things about living in a small farming community. And one of the best things is pickup trucks.

That's right, pickup trucks.

You see, here in mid-Missouri, it is almost expected that most men (and many women) drive pick-ups. However, growing up in my neighborhood, a pickup truck was a very hot commodity. It seemed if you needed to move a big piece of furniture, or buy something that couldn't fit in a car, you had to search for someone, anyone, who had a truck.

Then you had to beg, borrow or steal the truck in question.

I know you think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Back in the day, every family I knew had two cars, no pickups. Even though pickups are more popular, still most of our city friends have two cars, or one SUV and one car. The only people I ever knew who owned a truck were my next-door neighbors, who didn't buy one until they purchased a small farm near Lone Jack.

For farmers, pickup trucks are a necessity. But I don't think it's just the truck that is the most important, but what is "hauled in the truck." It's a great place for farmers and others to keep and haul "their stuff."

And you know in America we like our "stuff."

I used to play on a church softball league in Marshall many years ago and remember one day, third base was more than a little flooded. Now having grown up playing softball, I just assumed we'd either cancel the game or deal with the water and mud. But I had farmers on my team and lo and behold in their trucks they had shovels. A few minutes later, we had a ditch and the water hole was drained. I marveled then at the one of the unknown and taken for granted advantages of living in rural town -- pickup trucks, farmers who know how to solve problems and the tools that go with everywhere with them.

In fact, for farmers like my husband, his "whole" life is hauled in his pickup truck. Our pickup trucks keep getting bigger, not just because our family is getting bigger but because we need room to haul all that "stuff." You never know when we might need a rare tool.

In my husband's truck right now, a quick search shows six pair of gloves, three bottles of sunscreen (he burns easily!), a calculator, two sweatshirts, a box of grain masks, baby wipes, oil filters, air filters, and fuel filters for everything we own, two metal boxes full of manuals on every tool, tractor, implement we own, have owned or ever hoped to own.

There is a first aid kit, matches, a label maker, complete with an extra roll of tape, Sudafed, Mylanta, Tylenol, nasal spray and several bolts, nuts and screws. Now that is just in the cab of the truck. In the back of the pickup he has a leaf blower, three hitches, two hitch pins, a gallon of oil, two buckets, a shovel and three grease guns. In the three toolboxes he carries a variety of tools, including socket wrenches (metric and standard), bolt cutters, two tape measures, shop towels, a variety of pry bars (including one about 6 foot long), two saws, crescent wrenches, two jars of "Goop" (a great hand cleaner), and every shape, size and color of screwdrivers available. Now it sounds like a lot, but the truth is it is all very neat and orderly. In fact, there is room for a lot more -- like a kitchen sink.

If you still don't believe me that pickups are an advantage to living in a rural community think about this. My sister who lives in Portland, Oregon, just happened to be here when the tornados hit our county in 2006. Helping with cleanup, she said, "You guys are really lucky. You already have all the tools here. If this happened in the city we would have a hard time just to find a pickup truck to haul away the junk!"

So you see, there are advantages to living in rural America.

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What I was really impressed with was the number of semi-trailer trucks and cranes that showed up at your neighbor's house (he lost a roof and several barns) by 7 a.m. the next day.

But speaking of pickup trucks, I sure could use one right now as I thin out/donate my belongings in preparation for a move back to the Midwest. Anybody up for a road trip?

-- Posted by Marcia's sis on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 3:30 PM

It is so great to be able to read your blogs and see a reflection of my family's life -- it reminds me not to take so many things for granted

-- Posted by workingmom on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 4:26 PM

I'm envious of the six pair of gloves. All my good gardening gloves have disappeared. I'm left w/stiffened, odd gloves some of which have holes. Not good when you are going after vines, which may have poison ivy lurking. Spotted the first copperhead sunning on a log last week. At least, he/she wasn't lurking in the ivy!

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 10:01 PM

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