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The Parking Job



Completing Difficult Tasks in Your Day to Day work


My mom’s favorite wheat truck was a 1966 Chevrolet C-60 that had dual axles and wooden sides. It was the only one like it in the area, so everyone knew when James and Judy were cutting wheat. Its left mud flap was printed with the words “Passing side” and its right mud flap was printed with the words “Suicide side.” It was affectionately known as the red truck. The red truck had a manual transmission, but the engine would die when you let off the clutch whether it was in gear or not. At the time of this event, the truck’s tailgate was out and there were chains running at different points connecting the sides of the bed.


One afternoon in my teenage years, my dad asked me to bring the red truck home from my grandpa’s farm a mile north of us. He made sure to explain that he wanted it parked north of the barn at our farm.

Just behind our barn was a silo and a lot where the ground sloped down to the east making it an ideal spot for the feed bunk that lined the north side.


Dad took me to the red truck and I hopped in and headed back home. My mom was busy elsewhere, so I pulled into the yard and parked it just where my dad had instructed. I slowly let off the clutch, the engine died as I was told it would so I got out and headed for the house.

It was a good walk from the barn to the house but just a few steps in I thought I heard the barn door open.

I knew I was the only one home so this was not likely. I turned to watch the red truck rolling away from its assigned parking place, the chains spanning the bed rattling. This was the sound that caught my attention.


I knew I couldn’t run fast enough to stop it. I watched it until it stopped with its radiator butted up against a round bale at the bottom of the hill. It somehow missed the feed bunk and a spring tooth that was parked nearby. No, I didn’t go get it and try again. I figured it might actually do some damage on my second try, so I let it be. I later learned it had scooted the round bale 6 feet before it stopped.


My dad came home first. His first comment was that the red truck was not where he told me to park it. He was correct. It wasn’t technically where I had parked it either. My mom was not happy that I had endangered her favorite wheat truck.



Many years later, that truck was sold on my parents’ farm sale after a stroke forced my mom into early retirement but the memories will always remain.


 


 


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