Dad and I were on our way into the big city.
Just the two of us.
Something that happened all too rarely.
We had been chatting happily about the errands that needed to be run and the places we had to go.
The highway was smooth and relatively traffic-and-pothole-free.
We were travelling along at a good clip.
Suddenly in the middle of an amusing anecdote that had to do with newlyweds and cooking mishaps, Dad stopped talking.
I looked over at him.
He was frowning and peering ahead.
I followed his gaze.
There, square in the middle of our lane was a slow-moving vehicle.
I say ‘vehicle’, but I hope you take the word as judiciously as I use it.
The, umm, means-of-transportation was indiscriminate of colour. I think that a rusty red was predominate. The actual seams and closures had long since lost any hope of fitting and fastening and mostly were strung together with baling wire. A cloud of smoke trailed behind in happy blue puffs. It creaked and groaned with every turn of the patched and bare tires and from the noise the engine was making, a muffler was certainly part of a faint and distant past.
It was - in a word - decrepit.
I was astonished that it could still function. As more than a planter.
What had caught Dad’s attention was the speed at which it was travelling.
Okay, it would have had to speed up to be classified as ‘slow’.
Picture a speed slower than slow. But just a hair faster than ‘stop’.
We pulled up behind it and waited to round a small hill so we could see to pass.
“Who’s that?” I asked Dad.
He told me. Obviously someone he knew well.
“But why’s he going so slow?”
Dad looked at the truck. “I don’t think he dares go any faster.”
“Maybe he should get himself something newer.”
“Well, there’s a story,” Dad said. “He bought that truck new in about 1948 and drove it for many years.”
I looked back at it. “I can see that.”
“When it became obvious that he needed something newer, he went and priced out the later models and discovered that they had increased remarkably in price.”
“And then and there, he stated that, until truck prices came down, he was never buying a new one.” He nodded toward the decrepit vehicle. “I guess we can say he is a man of his word.”
Sometimes being true to your word is a good thing.
And sometimes . . .