Saying Goodbye To An Old (4 Cylinder) Friend

A four-wheeled family keepsake finds a new home

By kncitom on November 20, 2019

Can a vehicle be an heirloom? They’re not jewelry. They don’t sparkle like diamonds do, even after the best wax job. But, maybe.

This little ’87 Toyota pickup was my dad’s baby. 4 cylinder, 5 speed, no air, bench cloth seats…it wasn’t luxurious. But he didn’t care. He loved this thing, often leaving his much nicer Mazda 626 in the driveway for Sunday spins up to the mountain or out to the bay. Unless it was over 85 degrees, my mom usually went along good-naturedly. She liked the 626 better, but she liked seeing my dad happy.

In fact, he loved that little truck so much that before he died, he told us he wanted us to keep it in the family, if we could. My sister Kathy got it first, and then my brother Dan. Around 2011 it ended up in our garage just as our son Joe was getting ready to learn to drive. It had just over 76,000 original miles.

It’s first color was red. When Joe earned his license, the truck-stick shift and all- became his. A proud Tiger, he had it painted Roseville High School orange. Then, Joe left for school and our youngest, Sam, learned to drive it. It became his, and, not as big a fan of Roseville orange, he had it painted blue. Now he’s away at school and so it’s been sitting in our garage, mostly undriven, until today. My brother Dan flew in to drive it back to Portland, where it will find a new home in his son Sean’s garage until Sean’s son, Jackson, is old enough to drive it-just a few years from now. 

Our dad loved family more than anything-even more, maybe, than that little pickup. And we know he would love that, well after ten years since his passing, it is still in our family and three of his grandsons learned to drive with the “woo-woo truck” as he called it (he’d also love that it is still under 100,000 miles). “GOOD”, he’d say, in that booming voice of his. Then he’d nod once affirmatively, which he always did after he declaring something was “GOOD”.

So yeah, a vehicle can be an heirloom. Maybe it doesn’t sparkle, but it does shine.

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