Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Pick-Up Trucks

Stopped at a red light recently on a warm almost spring-like winter day, I caught a glimpse of a few teenagers in the back bed of a pick-up truck (which is quite common around my small town and surrounding areas) that was idling next to me – laughing, knocking on the window that separated them from the driver, and waving at those of us in cars who had caught their attention. The light turned green, the truck gunned its engine and sped off with the lively, carefree teenagers but not before jarring my own long buried memories of riding around in trucks.

Living at the cross roads of The Middle Of Nowhere and Redneck Territory, basically means that there is an over abundance of large trucks on over-sized tires with beds long enough to haul 4-wheelers or a handful of people, the males at my high school were no exception.

My friends and I thought nothing of riding around town in the back of an open truck bed – feeling the wind rip through our hair, our backs to the little sliding window along the back of the cab, country music blasting loudly. We rode that way to football games, bonfires, and sometimes just rambling down miles of dirt roads in the country on a weekend because there was nothing else to do. We were free of worries and responsibilities. If we were plagued with those they were soon forgotten in the wind, whipped from our minds and left to mingle in the open air with the faint strains of music we left in our path.

Often tailgates were dropped as groups of friends congregated in the parking lot of a local fast food joint, just hanging out being teenagers, eying the small town cops as they drove past, daring them to stop and lecture us about loitering. After school within seconds of the final bell shrilling, people would scamper over the sides of the bed, get their footing on the back of shiny chrome bumpers as they swung themselves over the tailgate or just use the tires as a stair step to take their place in the back of a truck.

We’d lie on blankets in the bed of trucks parked out in fields watching the stars or dancing to the radio from opened car doors. On a warm fall night, after a football game, I even turned in my v-card in the back bed of a pick-up truck to the high school guy I thought I would love forever. My friends and I would ride around town having water balloon fights from the back end of trucks. We would have garbage bags full of water balloons as we raced up and down the town streets tossing our water grenades at friends in other trucks at the intersections and laughing until we cried when an unsuspecting bystander on the sidewalk would wind up on the receiving end of one of the water balloons.

I know it all sounds very small town cliché and it is, but those were the days of my teenage years. The days of carefree simplicity sprinkled with a very healthy dose of backwoods mischief and imagination that defined the girl I used to be at that moment in time.