New Mexico Truck Life

Ford F-150 dashboard

You should see what’s on the floor

You can never have too many skulls or Guadalupanas. (There are two more Guadas in the cab, you just can’t see them here.) The clear glass object in the center is actually a tiny skull. The filthy gearshift knob is a skull I cast from plastic resin in a mold I made myself about twenty years ago. For some reason I never got around to casting one in bronze. This must have been around the time I quit melting and pouring my own bronze because I finally accepted how poisonous the fumes were, not to mention that no one was buying cast bronze cat skull sculptures, anyway. So much for being ahead of my time.

The 1987 F-150 above isn’t ahead of its own time or anybody else’s. It’s very hard to shift, has old cracked tires, and stinks of oil that runs down from the valve cover to bake itself hard all over the engine block. The best thing I can say about it is that it doesn’t cost me much because I never fix it and it crashes up and down the “roads” around here without dropping pieces in the dust. I also have no confidence in it beyond a few short trips, but usually that’s enough: recycling, lotto tickets, a certain trailhead six miles out of town. And as soon as this is posted, I’ll see if it’ll make it to the hardware store.

“What did you do today, honey?”

“Well, we needed birdseed, so I drove a 29-year-old truck to the hardware store to see if I could do it without shifting out of third.”

Jesus, what a silly way to live.

We looked at another house yesterday, by the way. This one had a beautifully landscaped front yard, but the place was built in 1970. No crime in itself, of course. “I know that molding,” I told our buyer’s agent. “In fact, I think I’ve lived here.” It wasn’t just the tiny rooms and squeaky floor. The woman who spent most of her life there was a stained glass artist. The house reflected all the stages of her life, from the garden beds outside to the grab bar by the bathtub. Her son had only recently moved her to an old folks home in Houston, so most of the furnishings and gee-gaws were still in place. There was a calico cat stuffed toy on the bedspread. I just knew that if I opened any drawer, I’d find too much of something no one wanted. The property was sound, but everywhere I looked were work-arounds that needed knocking down or burning. It all reminded me of my mother, and I felt the walls were closing in.

Another hundred grand and we could shop a better market. On the way back from hiking yesterday, riding in the everlasting truck, I realized this was possible. That surprised me, frankly, but I’m all better now.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • vicky Zillioux October 6, 2016, 2:42 PM

    I’d rather have the old floors.

    • JHF October 6, 2016, 2:55 PM

      The squeaky rotten plywood covered with shag carpeting like in that stuccoed ’70s ranch house? 🙂 I don’t think it would have held the baby grand. Some of the better old adobes have those heavy wooden floors. I think I’d like solid concrete, though. With radiant heat, oboy, and nothing living underneath! I’m anti-vermin now. There was a time I thought it edgy and a little brave.

  • George October 6, 2016, 3:11 PM

    Another hundred grand certainly gives more to choose from. My VA doc says I am healthier than any of her other patients, physically anyway. Looking around I’m not sure that means much, but in any event, pretty sure I won’t be paying off any mortgage I finally sign off on. Can’t find what I want/need in the rental market, so by spring I will decide on something. Winter here is exceptionally mild, glad I no longer have to factor that into my existence.

    • JHF October 6, 2016, 3:23 PM

      Sounds like you’re hitting on all cylinders. It’s all a big adventure, ain’t it? I may get better at this before I die.

      • George October 6, 2016, 3:33 PM

        Good word that. Adventure. Most (if not all) of what we do is based on fear. Most is unfounded. Figure out which is which (ask your wife), and you will get much better at making a decision.

  • Judy Copek October 6, 2016, 3:48 PM

    Apropos the skulls: sound like you are ready for the Day of the Dead early. Or maybe always.
    Too bad about the house! Hope your day will come.

    • JHF October 6, 2016, 4:35 PM

      The house sucked. 🙂 I don’t care. Onward!

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