Yesterday we bought a truck. It is a 1996 International, eighteen feet long, with a refrigeration unit. I’ll be using it primarily for hauling produce.
A lot of threads in our family life have converged on the purchase of this truck, and a lot of threads will be spun out as a result of buying it.
Usually I try not to talk much about projects until they are much more firmly established than this one, in an attempt to save my friends some useless reading and me some embarrassment. But this one is central enough to what we’re doing around here that I think I owe a detailed explanation to those of you who have been following our adventure and pondering the thinking behind it.
So I will be writing a series of posts about our plans for the near future and how the truck fits into them, even though some of those plans are in the very early stages. And I think the real value of telling this story as it develops is that it will be a very concrete example of how we reconcile the now and the not yet, the nuts and bolts of our family life as it stands today with the agrarian ideal we continually ponder and yearn for and strive toward.
One thing I will admit at the outset: I was born without the gene that gives men an affinity for powerful, forbidding machinery. My favorite car is the Honda Civic subcompact; I’ve owned two. Even our Honda Odyssey is a little larger than I’d like. When a couple of years ago a friend asked me how I liked our recently purchased Suburban, I offended him by saying that I hated driving it (although I’m very grateful for what it does for us). When I used that Suburban to haul a trailer to and from Tennessee to fetch our milk cows, I was very nervous and seriously considered adding a couple of hours to the trip just so I could drive interstate highways the entire time.
So I was not happy as I climbed into the truck to drive it home. Iit didn’t take me long to figure out how to center it in a lane, and that most of the road home was wide enough. About halfway home I stopped being nervous, although I never got totally comfortable. So the good news, I suppose, is that I will be able to use this truck to do the job that needs doing. But I doubt I will ever enjoy driving it.