My post from yesterday made me begin to ponder pride and I thought about other times that mine has caused me to feel bad or to make others feel bad (or both). This brought to mind an old green truck.
As I have mentioned before my dad was a commercial fisherman and stone crabber, for most of my childhood. It was seasonal; there were some times of feast or famine and I even remember once when my stay-at-home mom had to get a part-time job to help out when Dad suffered with a ruptured disc in his back. I think Dad’s pride hurt more than his back did then, as mom had never worked, but that’s another story.
This story stars an ugly old green truck with multiple compartments on the sides. I don’t remember where my dad got it or why, but I hated it. It was the ugliest old truck I had ever seen in my life.
Dad worked hard, but on the days he got home early enough, one of his favorite things to do was to load his family up and go for an early evening ride on one of the neighboring dirt roads. My brother and sister lived for this kind of stuff as they got to ride in the back and let their hair whip in the wind. I enjoyed it too, but I didn’t want anyone to know that. I think I was around 12 and maybe hormones played a part; maybe I was just a brat.
We would all pile into the truck with me finagling a way to ride in the front when I could. Many times I got my way since my brother and sister actually wanted to be in the back. Our first stop would be at Mrs. Watson’s general store about a mile (if that) from our house. One of the highlights of stopping here was talking to Mrs. Watson’s mina bird, Sam. The other highlight was the candy.
Dad would get his beverage of choice and we always got to pick our favorite candy. Mom would always tell us we were silly if we got anything other than chocolate (her favorite). My sister would usually get chocolate too, but my brother and I often ended up with wax candy bottles filled with juice, gobstoppers, or Laffy taffy. My sister says we always wanted what she had, but I don’t remember this. I will have to take her word for it. Often, we would all get Astro Pops. Remember those? I learned an interesting fact about them today. They were created by Rocket Scientists working on the space program in El Segundo, CA who decided to quit their jobs at Rocketdyne and create the Astro Pop®, modeling the pop after a three-stage rocket. They were very pointed and had wax around the bottom. We used these to poke each other after we licked the tips until they were even sharper than they came. We had to be very discreet about our pokes.
After talking to whoever we might have encountered there, we were off for our backroads drive. Dad would crank up his country tunes and make me sing along and we would see our share of wild animals and a beautiful sunset. My husband and I take the same drive sometimes and I now understand why it was so relaxing to my parents.
The part of this memory that brings me pain is my hatefulness about the old truck. I remember one time in particular that I really did not want to go on one of these outings; I wanted to be left behind at home. I made up every reason in the world, but my dad finally discerned that I was embarrassed to be seen in the old truck. He was absolutely correct, even though I denied it vehemently. I remember the look on his face when that realization set in that his eldest daughter didn’t want to be discovered in the old green truck by one of her friends. I don’t remember the outcome on that day, but I am 99% sure, knowing my dad, that my high-and-mighty little backside was parked in the back of the truck with the rest of the family.
When I look back, my despicable behavior was rooted in pride; the same pride that caused me not to want to be seen at church in yard shoes. Looking back, of course it was incredibly silly as I know none of my friends would have thought any less of me and probably would have loved to be doing the same thing with their family.
Surely I am not the only one who had these types of struggles and I am thankful that I have learned from them by the help and grace of God. I try to be transparent here in hopes that perhaps something I say may resonate with someone or spur a conscience. It is a great truth that if we can learn from our mistakes, there is potential for growth in our character. The lessons we learn can be considered a gift that keeps on giving.