Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I remember coming home from DARE in the 4th or 5th grade, having learned for the first time that having a can of beer between your legs was not only not required to drive a truck, it was actually pretty frowned upon. 
Trucks marked the seasons - the jobs. A new plant job meant a new white truck, sometimes with the name of the company, more often not.
The constant is the workhorse, the old brown Chevrolet with the welded rack for holding canoes, the tackle boxes, the scars from motors and gear in the back. I stuck a big gold and blue K on the back of the truck, when I got into the high school I wanted to go to. I was so proud, and they’d given them out at parents night or something. Dad was mad, of course. My mom said dad was embarrassed because it was an expensive school that the people he worked with wouldn’t send their kids to. I believed her at the time, but now, having kids, I imagine it was a simpler matter of just “Don’t stick things on things that don’t belong to you.” Of course that giant sticker is still there. Advertising my old high school while that truck has been parked at chemical plants, river inlets, boat launches, grocery stores and the houses of friendly pot dealers.  
The truck smells like dogs, marlboros, creek water, spilled beer, fish guts, and fiberglass. The radio has been stuck on the local NPR station for 15 years, which plays mostly opera during the days. A mix tape I made in the 7th grade is stuck in the stereo. The windows roll halfway down and stick and the AC stopped working when I was in high school. 
Which never really mattered because usually when I was in the truck we were going somewhere — crabbing at the jetty, sailing at sabine pass, taking the canoe through the logging cuts to Bird’s Eye Lake.   You can’t complain about the heat, even to yourself, when salt marsh wind is blowing your hair in your mouth and a big wet sandy dog is drooling on your lap. 
I built arm muscles levering that damn Old Town canoe over my head, popping the lip over the edge of the rusted welded rack, knowing my dad was doing 90% of the lifting and I was still barely keeping up my end of the deal. 
How can I believe in the impermanence of that body? In its suffering? When I saw that balletic bend, dip, swoop of inhuman strength a thousand times, countless times. Tanin brown water sloshing from the bottom to run down our arms where we gripped the gunnels. 

1 comment:

The Williams Family said...

Sabine Pass is the ultimate father/daughter spot, especially for fathers and daughters who shun an official father/daughter events and would never, ever use the phrase "making memories."

You are constantly on my mind right now-