[This is one of the posts telling a story from the life of my Dad. Click here to see the others.] One of the earliest memories I have with my Dad is of climbing up on top of the cab of his truck, then climbing through his open driver's-side window down into the seat. I called the move "my Dukes of Hazzard," and I remember being fairly proud of my ability to execute it (without having been able to attribute my success at the move to my ridiculously long 4 or 5 year old legs; I thought it was because I was just like Bo and Luke Duke).
Even now as a parent trying to imagine my little boy doing that, I'm still pretty impressed by my old skills (and I'm very humble about them, too, which also impresses me). I can remember doing my Dukes move successfully lots of times- and failing at it once.
My clearest memory of my Dukes of Hazzard is the time that it didn't work, and as far as I know, the last time that I attempted it. As I remember it, in mid-Dukes move, I saw my Granddad a short ways away getting into his truck and decided to wave at him. Not quite yet understanding the physics involved in executing my Dukes, I didn't stop to think about the important role that my hands played in getting me safely from sitting on top of Dad's truck down into the cab. But I came to fully believe in their role shortly thereafter as my attempt to wave at Granddad sent me falling to the ground, hitting my head, and getting a trip to the ER.
I don't remember much of anything specific that Dad said or did that day. (Actually I'm not sure that this memory is reliable at all, considering the head injury.) But I think that I remember the incident fondly just because there are lots of memories of days with him in that same spot on the ranch. Some of them are from when I was still young enough to stand up on the seat in Dad's truck and not hit my head on the roof, and plenty of memories of being with him in his truck at the ranch as I grew closer to being 6'7", at which height I definitely cannot stand up inside a truck.
I guess it's not this way for everyone, but I just can't fathom life without having grown up with a Dad and a pickup truck. His truck was our mobile place of spending time together. And since the huge majority of the time I was able to avoid falling out of the truck and hitting my head, something about riding in a truck at least a half hour away from any city will always be good for my soul.
(I have friends who live in places like New Jersey, where apparently almost no one drives a truck. How do you people get by? What do you do when you have to haul something? Where do you sit and swing your feet if you don't have a tailgate?)