Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love For Old Pick-up Trucks

The subject today is old pickup trucks and it is inspired by the synchronicity of a comment from a new follower who mentioned John Jerome’s book Truck which I have been reading for the past week.  Synchronicities are odd occurrences to which I think we should pay attention.  Why when I am reading Truck does a person out of blue comment on the book?  Is it just one of those things or is there an unseen current that flows?  I have run into this before and I just wonder is there something more to the world than what meets the eye?  I would like to think so, but probably not.  We just are probably tuned to finding otherwise random occurrences and making a big deal about them in our minds.   Well that will be a topic for another day.  Today’s thoughts are on a love for old pickup trucks.  So first I have to mention John Jerome’s book Truck.  John Jerome was one of those guys who exuded a homey wisdom without getting prissy about it.  He wanted a better way to bring horseshit to his garden, so he decided to restore an old truck.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but it is one of those classic Jerome works where hidden right under the surface of the words is all this woodsy Walden Pond New England wisdom on the proper conduct of life—led simply away from large cities and with a woman with whom you can go skinny dipping.  Yes in a book about restoring a truck Jerome tells of how he and his wife Chris go skinny dipping in the creek on their farm.  God how I hate living in the suburbs!  The fact that minor obscenities peppers his writing as it does in mine, doesn't hurt his standing in my favorite writers hall of fame.  A worthless laurel, but exceeding rare., Truck, John Jerome   

Jerome goes into a good bit of detail of the parts and the various problems encountered.  He provides simple but remarkably accurate and effective line drawings to help the reader understand a particular aspect of his rebuilding effort.  He speaks of his lack of competency—a battle which I have fought all my life.  How can I be so damned incompetent when it comes to working with my hands?  The field of carpentry being a prime example.  “Measure twice, cut once” so the old saw about sawing goes.  Why is it that I measure 50 times and cut 10 times each time whittling away at too much material until I make the final fatal cut too short and always at some cockeyed angle rather than square?  I have a repository of wood laying in the cellar with visibly crappy angles cut in them from various failed projects over the years.  In mechanics, I am better, but too damned slow.  So I can richly identify with his concerns on competency.  For the most part I am a buffoon when it come to working with my hands.  Unlike Jerome, however, I have made damn little money with writing.  I sold a half dozen magazine articles and co-authored a really crappy book on computers back in the early days of Commodore PETs.  I don’t believe that I made much more than $1,000 from my total writing efforts.  Incompetent indeed! 

In my image search for the cover of Truck, I found a really good review of the book:

Pif Magazine, Review of Truck, by Rachel Barenblat

By the way it should be noted that the ratty truck on the cover is not a 1950 Dodge, but rather (I am guessing) either a 56 or 57 Chevy or GMC.  An older version of the book had a closer version of the real truck on the cover.  Why the new cover with totally the wrong truck is a mystery, but it should be noted that curmudgeons such as myself do note such things and it counts against the publisher—although not the author who is in no position to protest unfortunately. (John Jerome died in 2002, truly a tragic loss of a great writer).  You can’t just slap any picture of a shitty old truck on the cover of a book devoted to a 50 Dodge. 

For some reason this is turning into a post about books on old trucks rather than a post on old trucks.  Next book, Truck, A Love Story by Michael Perry.  A small town Wisconsin volunteer fire fighter tells us of rebuilding an old International pickup.  The story parallels his developing love for a woman.  The romantic in me liked that.  He also tells us that he has the hots for Irma Harding.  It seems that International Harvester had a line of freezers and they invented Irma Harding as a Betty Crocker like cook to give one a bunch or recipes for that corn that you plowed with your IH Farmall tractor, planted and harvested with your IH implements, and froze in your IH freezer.  With all this preponderance of corporate initials, I wonder why General Mills chose Betty Crocker rather than Gertrude Miller., Truck, A Love Story, Michael Perry

Again an image search for the cover revealed that Michael Perry is doing quite well.  Here is his website’s ad for the book:, Truck, A Love Story

Irma Harding
I always like when I can steal an image from the author’s website, less chance I will hear from lawyers.  If I am pitching your book in my lowly blog, it would be downright rude to ask me to remove the cover image.  Anyhow Perry’s book is both entertaining for the restoration of a truck and the making of a marriage.  Two things I really love in life, old pickup trucks and good marriages.  I highly recommend both. 

Irma Harding's Initials
So for all my love for old pickups how many have I owned?  Exactly one, which by the way is the same number of marriages that I have had, and I intend to keep it that way no matter how much like a bonobo I am.  When a bonobo restores a pickup truck, I will consider another woman.   I bought a restored 59 Dodge with a flathead 6 (probably the same engine as Jerome’s) a few days before I left for Thailand.  Why in the hell would I buy a truck several days before leaving for Thailand?  Well it is complicated but the truck was a good deal.  I was going to live in California and go to school when I got out of the service and work for a guy that had just retired from the Air Force.  He ran into the truck and it was a good price.  So I bought it and he kept it for me while I was in Thailand.  Unfortunately my father had a debilitating stroke and rather than going back to California, I returned to Pittsburgh.  I give the truck to my buddy to pay for some work he did on my car for me.  So while I owned the truck for about year, I only drove it for a couple of days.  It was cool but kind of frumpy.  The max speed was about 60, but it could pull a stump out of the ground with low end torque.  And perhaps as an odd example of synchronicity (although hardly synchronous) my buddy had restored an early 50’s International pickup truck.  He did a beautiful job with it and sort of used the truck as an advertisement to his body work abilities.

If I had more money and was not so lazy I would consider owning two old trucks, any year of Dodge Power Wagons (the real ones made from 40’s to the 60’s that looked like military trucks—not the phony regular Dodge pickups with Power Wagon emblazoned on the hood)  In fact if I won the lottery (not likely to happen due to the fact that winning the lottery requires the purchase of a ticket—an activity to which I remain a virgin), I would go buy this truck.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, Power Wagons

I love this truck, if I had the cash I would just keep offering more until the guy sold it to me.  Everyone has their price.  Alas no cash, so what the hell I keep a picture of it on my screen saver.


Another truck I love is a 56 Ford.  Here is a lovely example (although I hate the fact that it has been lowered—which to me looks as dumb as it is impractical).

Advanced Connected, 56 Ford Restore

I do have enough cash to own a 56 Ford—the Hallmark ornament.  It hangs on the Christmas tree every year.  Hallmark needs to come out with a Power Wagon (the old kind).

And to my new follower, I see you like VW buses.  So I have a story regarding such.  When I was in college I worked in a gas station.  A woman had a VW microbus and often stopped for gas in the morning while driving her lovely daughter to a private school.  The daughter was always dressed in an austere private school uniform that left everything to the imagination.  I had never seen this girl in anything but the VW microbus wearing her austere uniform and a rather austere look on her face.  Then one day she came in driving a brand new Mustang convertible—a graduation present from her parents.  She was wearing a low cut mini-dress, showing a lot of cleavage and a lot of leg—neither hard to look at.  We had a rather pleasant chat for about 15 minutes and she had the most wonderful smile.  I left for the Air Force two days later.  Shit!

EDIT 3-27-11: Going back to the Jerome Post my follower left another comment, he is not only rebuilding an 1951 International, he has a blog here on Blogger about it:

1951 International L110 Project

Talk about synchronicity!  My buddy's truck in California was a L110.  I think it may have been a 53 or 54 but it looked almost identical to this one.  Very cool.

EDIT 3-30-11: I found another article on the Power Wagon at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff that gives a nice history of the Power Wagon:

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, 1957 Power Wagon Truck

Upon further reflection, had I been asked to create a name for International Harvester's mythical cook, I would chosen Ina Harvey,  Betty Crocker would have been Genny Miller, and Phillis Berry would replace that stupid dough boy. This is probably why I don't work in advertising. 

 Image Credits:

IH Logo: Tractor

Irma Harding:

Other images, web sites listed near image.  


  1. Yes that synchronicity topic is a little freaky ! I'm writing you about Jerome's Truck book and you're reading it.
    I agree 100% about the "true" Dodge Power Wagon....what a beast. Sure don't see many of those around anymore...and the odd one you do see that's for sale is priced in the stratosphere. But for me..."old is gold"...really doesn't matter the brand.
    Too bad about your '59 Dodge.....can you imagine if you still had that truck today. Perhaps as a retirement gift to yourself, you should try and latch onto an older truck ?

  2. You are right: that green truck totally rocks! Owning one would be a dream come true. It will be so difficult to ignore such a vehicle if you come across it on the street.

    1. Clorinda,

      Forgive me, somehow I missed your comment. Maybe the email notification was off that day. Oh the Dodge Power Wagon indeed totally rocks! When I was a kid the phone company used large sized Power Wagons (probably ton and half rated) to maintain long distance lines that went through our woods. It was extremely rugged terrain and the Power Wagons were unstoppable. I remember even as a kid thinking what a cool truck. Sorry I missed your comment. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Old Pickup Trucks are very strong materials to create and it is also best for transport business. This is good knowledge share about the Old Pickup Trucks.

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    1. Ronnie,

      Indeed the old trucks were a tough breed, as well as being very cool! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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