I have a 1958 Ford Ranchero. I’m not an old-car guy, and I’ve never driven it, but I love it, and I almost lost it.
The truck used to be my grampa’s. On Saturdays until I was about 6 he would take me with him to the dump, which is about the only time he used the truck.
He would open the driver door so I could crawl across the bench seat, and he would always say, “One of these days you’re going to get in through your own door.”
Occasionally he would use it for an errand. I heard him more than once come home and say, “I got another note on the windshield,” as he tacked a piece of paper to the kitchen bulletin board.
The notes all said the same basic thing: I want to buy your truck. Call me.
These put a hardness in the pit of my stomach. Forget that new car smell; I was sentimental about 25-year-old Ford cab smell.
When I was a teen-ager, Nana said, “We’re re-doing our will. If there’s anything you want to be sure to get, speak up.”
I didn’t hesitate. Tap tap my truck.
Later my grandparents said, “It’s just sitting there. We don’t even use the thing. Why wait for us to die?”
I was married then. I can’t tell you how my skin crawls when my husband refers to it as his Ranchero.
A few years ago my Uncle Sonny started asking around, “Where’s Uncle Albert’s Ranchero?”
He wanted to fix it up. A bunch of old-car guys were fixing up cars together.
My husband said he was planning on fixing it up in a father-son project. Then it would be what our son drives.
Yeah, my son’s going to get sticky, dirty stuff on his hands. Didn’t my husband read The Birthday Cake Story?
This never came to pass. So in 2003 I told Uncle Sonny he could take it, work on it, do the car show thing, but not have title.
Everybody was happy. I was about to get around to getting it over to his house.
Does the name Uncle Sonny ring a bell? His other mention was the story about how his house burned down.
If I hadn’t been so lazy, it would have been a carbecue.
For now it’s just sitting there. We don’t even use the thing.
But when we do, I’m going to breathe in deep as I crawl across the driver side.