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When Your Vehicle Has Family Ties
 

By Greg Barbera
 

It wasn’t love at first sight.

But I did grow to love my pick-up truck.

Probably because it was my first: the first vehicle I bought brand new off the lot in 1991.

There’s a certain freedom that you inherit when you become a truck owner: the freedom to go where you want and the freedom to haul just about anything anywhere.

It became my best friend. I slept in the bed under the stars camping in the desert and fueled my fireplace with the half cord of wood I hauled home in it.

The truck also became everyone else’s best friend. When you have a truck you find you have friends you didn’t know you ever had. You are the go-to guy when it comes to relocation services and the one to call when someone needs a ride to the single-track mountain bike trails in the foothills (because you can simply toss the bicycles in the back).

My truck traveled with me from California to North Carolina—a feat of reverse manifest destiny, heading back east to the coast I grew up on.

It was there for the birth of my two sons and quickly became a favorite of theirs to ride in as they aged. It offered them a different perspective riding “shotgun” and allowed them to look at the passing scenery with a new eye.

The truck would haul the wood that would be used to build their treehouse and it would transport their skateboards to the local public skatepark.

It was the perfect all-purpose vehicle, limited only by my lack of imagination. Some days the bed was used for home base during neighborhood games of tag. Other days the tailgate was makeshift seating from which to watch my sons’ soccer games or my town’s fireworks display.

My truck wasn’t just a vehicle; it wasn’t just a mode of transportation. For my boys my truck was a member of the family, as much a part of their life as the family cat or their beta fish. They would draw straws just to see who would ride with dad to the grocery store or to fetch some parts for a home repair—menial chores that had become excitingly monumental tasks because they “required” the use of the pick-up.

When the truck was sent out to pasture—ahem, I mean traded in for a new vehicle when it had grown old with age and long in the tooth with mileage—my sons and I felt great sadness.

But we still share our stories about the truck, and some days we still claim to see its old, charcoal grey ghost with a bed full of lumber meandering through the streets of our town.

From holding down the home front to taking on the road, the Chevy Silverado is always up to the task. It’s the truck built to get you through the day.

Greg Barbera of DadCentric is a dad blogger, beer magazine editor and the singer/bass player for the punk band Chest Pains. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You can follow him on twitter @gregeboy, tumblr, Facebook and Blogger. Want to know more? Just Google him.