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Sunday, May 1, 2016

From my Front Porch

Thursday, May 2, 2002

Noisy trucks and neighbors

For several years my husband drove an '85 Chevy S10 truck that was noisy beyond belief. It was a four-speed wonder barely equipped with the necessities, including AM radio and 2/40 air-conditioning -- which means if you rolled down the two windows while traveling at least 40 miles per hour things would start to cool off. The heater worked year round.

We tried to have the noise problem repaired, but the mechanic's bill would have been about twice the truck's worth, so we lived with the racket. As a result that truck and its driver became part of local folklore.

At that time my husband was the principal of the largest junior high in Mississippi and had his work cut out for him. Somehow the students always knew when he was not in the building, but according to the teachers, as soon as everyone heard the rumble of the little Chevy truck, the mood of the entire campus changed. They knew that "the man" was back.

The truck's signature roar was comforting, as well. My principal-husband had many late evenings, and it was always nice to hear the familiar sound of the truck returning down the long country road that led to our home. Our dog would bark, the cats would mew, and the kids would high-tail it off to bed. It never dawned on me that our next door neighbors might not have considered the sound so soothing.

Then life changed. We sold the truck and moved north. Ironically, now we are the neighbors.

The fellow next door owns a Chevy truck that is also noisy beyond belief. I've speculated from the looks of the handsome young cowboy that air-conditioning is not a priority, but the radio probably works just fine.

At least twice a day I am sure I am hearing what is tantamount to a jumbo jet preparing for takeoff. There is no need to set an alarm clock; we have a truck-shaped one just across the street.

Two weeks ago peace and quiet finally settled on our street. The truck was gone and our neighbor was riding his much quieter motorcycle. I reminded myself to set our alarm clocks.

Then I saw the replacement, an older model gold-toned grandmotherly type vehicle, and I genuinely felt sorry for the cowboy. I found myself actually missing his noisy Chevy truck, but not for long.

The other day it returned. There it was parked in its usual place with a happy young fellow sitting in the driver's seat doing what men with trucks sometimes do. He was making up for lost time, listening to the engine by revving it up over and over again.

Finally, the cowboy and his Chevy drove away into the proverbial sunset.

As the loud rumbling dissipated across the neighborhood, I thought about the noisy little truck we had left behind in Mississippi and I was thankful we had had the good sense to sell it to a friend. Someone who thinks enough of us that he would most certainly let my husband once again sit in the driver's seat to rev up the engine good and loud.

Then, for old times' sake, "the man" could put her in gear and take a quick drive by the old junior high school.