Restoring a truck… and a family.
I grew up in rural Iowa where pretty much everyone had a pickup. And like so many of you, some of the greatest moments from my teenage “glory days” involved a truck whether it was me driving or one of my buddies. As the years have gone by and as my life has become more complex, I found myself longing for the simplicity of an old truck. And so when I found a 1972 GMC 4×4 Sierra Grande with factory air and a big block, I jumped on it. It had been restored by a previous owner and was in pretty decent shape although it still needed some work.
The dealer handed me a packet of documents that came with the truck including the original owner’s manual, the card of the dealer that originally sold the truck and a couple LMC Truck catalogs, which I was glad to have as I wasn’t really sure how easy it would be to find parts for an old truck.
A few years went by and I gradually took on a few little repair/restoration projects with the truck. I was really pleased to find how many memories flooded back to me as I worked on the truck. I remembered how my Dad and I worked on his truck, repairing the body damage I had done when I got in a wreck with it. I remembered riding along with my brother and my Mom taking a load of garbage to the landfill. I remembered laughing my head off while riding with my brother to church one day when he all of a sudden decided to leave the road and drive through the ditch for a while. Great memories but also painful as my parents had divorced after nearly 30 years of marriage. I realized that I not only longed for the simplicity of my old truck from high school but I also longed for the days where my family was whole.
Don’t get me wrong. My Dad remarried and I love my stepmom. My Mom is still single, but happy and fulfilled. Having separate holidays, birthdays, and everything else, while still good, just hasn’t been the same. That’s where Old Blue comes in.
I hit a Deer with my truck on my way home from church one night, rehearsing with the choir for an upcoming Christmas event. The truck would now require some major repairs. As I got into it, I quickly found myself needing some mechanical help. My Dad and my brother are both very mechanically inclined and so it seemed like a good family project to do some of the work at my brother’s shop.
I’m not sure how it all started but I just remember that my whole family started showing up at my brother’s place whenever we were getting ready to work on the truck. There was something about it that just drew us all together. Everyone wanted to see what we were doing next. My nieces and nephews were there, my Dad and his wife and then my mom and grandfather on her side started showing up too. It was a bit awkward the first time but then it just seemed normal. The next thing I know, we were celebrating father’s day working on my truck. We celebrated the 4th of July working on my truck. It just kept going from there until it just seemed normal that we should all be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas too.
I thought I knew what I wanted from this old truck when I bought it. But I had no idea what I would actually receive. Not only have we restored an old truck together, but this truck has helped us restore a family too.