My father’s old truck was a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban. The vehicle itself is rather unspectacular.
It’s a mid-80s GM product, which meant it is fairly easy to repair, but it rusts a lot. What’s interesting about this particular truck is its place in our family: My father bought the car in 1990. It’s been around longer than I.
It’s a bizzare story—This car took me home from the hospital. Somewhere, there’s a video of it, doing that. It took us on numerous family vacations, all over the state of Florida. It pulled countless boats. It got repainted twice. It left us stranded, once, when a solenoid burnt out. It moved us across the state. It was in 5 accidents. The A/C crapped out in it once, on a 4 hour drive. We’d drive to the keys, late Friday after my dad finished work. On our way there I would learn how to drive in it. Its diesel engine burnt out after 275,000 miles. It got a new one. It made it north of 330,000 miles. I hauled too many people to count around in it. I drove it to the Keys, and then I put Gasoline in it. It didn’t like that. It got nick-named by my friends, The Heap, Optimus Prime, The Elephant. It continued to be a suburban, to me. It took my stuff to college. It took it back home, back and forth. Back and forth. In its later years, people often suggested the back seats be taken out and a queen size mattress installed. Those people waited for the glow plugs to warm up. It had glow plugs. It wouldn’t run unless they warmed up. Sometimes, they wouldn’t. It was usually cold when that happened.
When my father purchased the car, he was 42. When we sold it, he was 64. We sold the suburban last December.
Every once in a while, a thing comes along and almost becomes more than itself. Our things can own us, help us, or define us, and they usually end up doing those things and more. But perhaps the most powerful function of some of our most important stuff is how it reminds us, in different ways, of the people and moments that were important to us as we were getting where we were going.
Expect to hear more about the Suburban. Its ramblings were mine.