Arian Knops


3 mins
January 4, 2021

My present car isn’t really a car at all, but instead a thirteen, almost fourteen, year old American made foreign named pickup truck.  My truck is plain.  It’s what is referred to in the industry as a ‘work truck’.  Plain means, its color is white, it has plastic floors, hand powered crank-down windows and gray cloth seats.

I like driving a truck rather than a car in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin where I live.  This for a number of reasons not the least of which is that this area, other than during hunting season, is the abode of hundreds if not thousands of white-tailed deer.  The deer around my area seem to be suicidal since almost everyone I know has, with their vehicle, clipped at least one of the furry critters.  I’m not sure if deer are color blind, but never, at least as of this writing, has one run out of the ditch and crashed into the side of my truck, nor have any been clobbered by the front of my truck as I speed about the highways and byways of Rusk County.  There might be several reasons for that; luck would be first, skill of the driver might be a distant second and last is that the truck is still fully insured.  I think it may be a law of nature that any self-respecting deer will not jump in front of a fully insured white vehicle.  The only exception to that law is for my friends Gene and Karen who, on a cold winters’ night several years ago, sent a whitetail to deer heaven with their brand-new Jeep.  I guess brand new vehicles are a magnet for free roaming creatures.  To that point there was my pal Tom who on the way home from purchasing a new vehicle did not see the Pheasant fly out of the ditch and demolish the grill of a nice shiny Honda.  

My first car was a piece of junk that I bought for five bucks.  It was a ’54 Plymouth. The year of my purchase was the early ‘60’s and it was a Plymouth, so, even if the car had been newer I more than likely overpaid.  The car ran, but a person had to drive with the window or windows down so they would not be asphyxiated by the blue smoke coming from somewhere under the car.  I kept a gallon of used oil in the trunk.  Every time the blue smoke lessened in intensity; I’d just add more oil to the crank case.  One of my friends told me I should rent the vehicle to the city to polish off all the mosquitos residing around the area.  I didn’t every drive that car very fast because the suffering, oil burning engine was probably the best part of the car.  The Plymouth had a bad case of car cancer and I was always nervous that the body would separate from the engine and the frame if I ever went over sixty MPH.  The floor had rusted through sometime early in the Eisenhower administration and the owner back then replaced the floor with sheet metal but didn’t attach the sheet metal to anything.  The metal was just lying there where the floor should have been, attached to nothing.  My friend Pat Richardson called my Plymouth the Flintstone car.  My Marine Corps Major boss called it a powered casket.  That man drove a fifties era Volkswagen bug.  I don’t think he had much room to talk so naturally I didn’t listen to him.

My first dependable car was a Ford.  A 1953 black Ford with a straight stick transmission.  The Ford was a four-door sedan, and the paint was faded from years in the Mississippi sun.  Since I had been born and raised in Minnesota, and dropped off in Mississippi courtesy of Uncle Sam, I thought every car came with a heater.  I thought wrong.  There was a fan mounted above the inside of windshield that would help keep moisture off the windshield on cold days. I found, during the first heart of Dixie winter cold snap, that the fan worked just as well turned off as it did turned on.  I resorted to driving with an ice-scraper in one hand and the steering wheel in the other.  Fortunately, Mississippi winters were shorter than Minnesota winters.  I managed to get some other Yankee fool to take it off my hands for seventy-five bucks shortly before my enlistment and the car expired.

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Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.