On New Year’s morning i swerved into an almost empty parking lot at the Food Lion and i parked my red truck next to an older red truck an F150 of somewhat spectacular character -- two tone, quietly screaming with chrome and a raised grill practically lifted from Rolls Royce himself - the red bench seat made me think of the four teenagers killed just a few nights before, up the road, they had all been sitting side by side in a pickup truck, i thought maybe this was the sort of truck the boy had, something he’d worked on all summer in his father’s garage, but turned out wrong . . . i jolted myself from the terrible dream of their mothers and went in the store for my cooking oil, and stood for some time behind an 80-something year old black lady in a maroon beret paying for her few groceries from the seat of the electric shopping go-cart - pennies came from her change purse purposely as though a penny still meant something, but New Year’s day was grey and cold and empty and slow, and i enjoyed standing quietly in the empty grocery store listening to the clerks negotiate first breaks.
i caught up with the old girl outside, she was opening the door of the F-150 and putting her groceries up on that scarlet bench seat and before i opened my red truck door, i said, “Hey, is that your truck?” and she peeled a smile and said, “Oh yes, it’s my truck.”
“That’s a fantastic truck, ” i say and she says, “Everybody loves my truck. Everybody. I dedicate my truck to the Master, so it’s not my truck, it’s OUR truck.”
“That’s beautiful, ” i say, “You have a happy new year.”
And she put her cane in the truck and the smile went serious, “I don’t celebrate New Year’s but you have a blessed day.”
I thanked her and got in my red truck and patted the dashboard and hoped that the Master’s Truck had rubbed off a little while they were parked together, because i like to think that red Ford trucks are all connected somehow . . .