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  • Zeb Carlson



I was cleaning out the SIM card for my camera, which I rarely use. I forgot that I took these pictures in October of 2013.

This was at the farm sale. This good ol' boy in the black coat drove 6-or-so hours to come to the sale and buy my Dad's '89 Chevy pickup. While he had made the long journey to capture his half-ton prize, the bidding halted at one point, as it was more than he wished to spend.

A few moments passed, and as the auctioneer said, "goin' once" and he got back in the game and started bidding again. The game was back on! And he obliged to this, placing more money on the table to get his new ride. Now, Dad would be so mad if I told you how much this man paid for it, so I won't say it here. But it was way more than it was worth.

I recall Dad's face as he watched the exchange, somehow validated in that if you take good care of something it will pay off as the years go by — your fruits shall be reaped. And not to mention that, dammit, a 1/2 ton pickup that pulls a trailer should have a manual transmission in it and yep, this guy agrees.

Kindred souls.

After, I went and talked to the guy. He was so happy! I'm telling you, the joy of buying this truck made him giddy. I told him the story about how buying this pickup was a secret to me, as he and mom wanted to surprise me when they picked me up from school. Even through the blizzard of that day, it was the fanciest, marroonist, most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life. I thought we were rich, as he never spent money on anything. You drove something until it turned back into iron ore, and then started the 2-year process of finding a new vehicle.

He was sitting in his new pickup to the left of me as I took this photo.

Every dent of that pickup had a memory. Like, when I was driving it down through a pasture with the horse trailer and as I went down a hill, I put a huge dent in the bed. I was terrified that he would be mad: This was the first dent, and I DID IT. Yet he wasn't, and talked to me how to drive a pickup with a horse trailer, and made sure I understood how the gooseneck worked as it was hitched to the bed.

So, here I am, sitting here in a pool of blubbering tears thinking about all of those dents and SO HAPPY I have a picture of that dude with the black cowboy hat. And remembering my Dad, remembering that day, and thankful that Kim asked to borrow my camera.

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