Poppy’s Truck and Gratitude

Poppy’s Truck circa 2001

Sabi left for B and Poppy’s in a flash; she had to retrieve her car and get back to those shenanigans that twenty-somethings partake in on a Friday night. 

“Remember, you can’t see the gears on the dashboard of Poppy’s truck. Make sure you count three clicks to get the gear shift into drive. If you click more, then you will be in low gear.”

“I know, I know.”

Twenty minutes later, the phone harkens.

“Mom! The truck is messed up! There’s smoke everywhere!”

Ugh, she didn’t count to three.

“Where are you?”

Through sobs, she denotes the approximate location, an overlook about ten miles from the house.

“I’m coming. We’ll figure it out.”

My mind was racing as I searched for my keys. I had borrowed my dad’s truck for the day; a more efficient mode of transport for my beloved plants to our new home. Sabi had volunteered to get it, a kind gesture that had proven to save precious time.

When you’re in the middle of a move, time is a precious commodity.

Our New House!

But as the sun was setting, my desire of hitting the hay with the chickens had vanished. I headed west in hopes that what I was anticipating – an engine in ruin – wasn’t actually what I would find.  

The fifteen minute drive was filled with angst.  How much does a new motor cost?  Will that throw a monkey wrench into our upcoming fiscal plans, which included paying off a house and refurbishing an old garage, the latter being an unknown journey of nickels and dimes cast to the wind?  Fear, guilt and dread laden on my stomach like cold, stale pizza.  

As if that wasn’t enough, I knew that yelling at my second spawn would prove to be fruitless.  She messed up, but her intentions were in the right place.  


I met Sabi, and we headed out, she in my car and I in Poppy’s truck.  My phone harkened; Kurt was checking in on me.  

“How does the motor sound?”

“It’s grinding, but I’m going really slow.”

“What do the gages say?”

I looked at each circular representation of the health and welfare of the old Silverado, and gave a report.

“Sandra, you need to pull off now!”

“I’m not pulling off on the interstate.  I’m a mile away from the next exit!”

“No, you really need to stop!”

Knowing that the stress of being stopped on the side of I-40 might set me over the edge, I stood my ground.  

“I’m taking the next exit.  It’s less than a mile.”

We parked in a gravel lot adjacent to the overpass near the sleepy little town of Knoxville, home of a brand spankin’ new Dollar General, and, a hometown favorite, the Chik and Moo Diner   Praying that the surrounding amenities included cell phone service, I dialed my dad.

B and Poppy
Mom and Dad – 2017

“I’m so sorry.  The truck is not driveable.  I’ve got to get it towed.”

“It’ll be okay, sugar.  We’ve been talking about trading in the old thing for awhile.”

He gave me the name of his mechanic, and, with that, I set out on the next mission:  finding a tow truck.  After a couple of tries, I got a person on the line.

“We can come get you, but you have to pay cash.”

Seriously?  I had about three bucks and a purseful of change, not enough to even buy a Hot Wheels Tow Truck at the Wal Mart.

The third time was the charm.  “Sure, we will come, I’ll call you for payment when the driver has completed his run.”

Relieved that light might be around the corner of this tunnel, I hopped out of the truck, the hot July sun kissing my face. Sabi was nearby, cocooned in the icy comfort of my Jeep.  I engaged in a bit of self talk as I strolled her way.

“She already feels bad; don’t pour salt on that wound. Ugh.  Dammit. Okay, I got this.”

“We just have to wait for the wrecker.  Why don’t we get out and walk around this lot.  I need to destress for a minute.”

Several cars passed by as we circled our vehicles, weary travelers waiting on assistance.  One truck actually stopped.  A man with tattoo clad arms craned his neck and asked, “Do you need some help?”

“No, no thank you,” I said nervously. “Help is coming soon.”

Five minutes later, the monstrous machine came to our rescue.  A young, lithe guy jumped out.

“Which vehicle needs the tow?”

I pointed to the Chevy.  He got right to work.  

“You don’t have to stay here.  Just give me the address and I’ll do the rest.”

And with that, we headed west to B and Poppy’s.


Other than some upbeat tunes on Sirius XM, the remainder of the trip was wrapped in silence.  What would we face at the little house in the middle of the cow pasture in the middle of Nowhere, Arkansas?

Grace is what we faced.  Undeserved, abundant grace.

“How about some cold, juicy watermelon?  I know you guys must be parched.”

We accepted this offer, feeling rejuvenated with each sweet bite.  

“Don’t you worry one bit about it; we will get it fixed and that’s that.”

“Can I at least pay for the tow?”

“It’s a deal.”

With a hug, kiss and an additional offer of spice cake, I was on my way, homeward bound for some much needed rest.  

The mechanic called Dad the next day.  The engine was shot.

“Let’s put a new one in,” he said, “I hate vehicle shopping.”

A week later, the Chevy Silverado pulled out of the garage, as good as new.

A week after that, I called my dad.

“Austin needs to borrow your truck to move his mattress.  I promise I won’t let Sabi get near the driver’s seat!”

“Sure!  That’s not a problem.”



4 thoughts on “Poppy’s Truck and Gratitude

  1. It is. Still so much appreciating the wonderful year there that had a huge impact on my life and still continues doing so. You were one of those that made my year so good – thank you for that. 🙂 Maritta


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