A few years ago I volunteered my truck to pick up discarded Christmas trees and take them to a chipper. It was a Cub Scout fund-raiser. I was the Cubmaster. I had to lead by example.
And so, on a chilled Saturday morning just after New Year’s Day, I jumped in my truck’s cold cab. I gave the machine a little gas, murmured the Common Prayer of Heaps – “Dear Lord, let my heap start this day” – and turned the key. Six cylinders popped up and down in rapid succession. My prayer was answered. With a rattle, the truck came alive.
The day before, in a moment of inspiration, I had tied a $2 thrift-store wreath to its grill. It fit nicely across the truck’s signature feature, the “bull nose” mound of chrome and steel in the center of the truck’s immense grill. It sat atop a massive chrome bumper. The wreath in place, I stepped back to admire the silver bumper, the green wreath, the faded red fenders. Pretty festive, I thought.
Others thought so too. As I rumbled through the neighborhood, a forest of old trees stacked in the bed, people begged me to stop so they could take a photo. “You look just like a Christmas card!” one neighbor exclaimed.
She was right. Since that time, I’ve kept an eye out for Christmas cards that feature a faded heap like mine. They are almost as ubiquitous as Santa himself.
For the record, that old heap is a 1954 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster half-ton. In 1947, Chevy produced the first of a line of trucks that were so well-built that some remain in daily use. With only a few style changes, the Thriftmaster dominated construction sites, farms, hardware-store parking lots, lumber camps and other places needing mechanized might. At least one truck was used in a watermelon theft, but that is another story. Chevy discontinued the line in early 1955.
So, dear reader, this is my card to you. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanza! Have a fabulous Festivus! May all your solstices be peaceful!
And may this old truck keep generating smiles.