My Cherry Red

By Hurst, Blake | The American Enterprise, July 2001 | Go to article overview

My Cherry Red


Hurst, Blake, The American Enterprise


TARKIO, MISSOURI--It is red, with lots of chrome. It is so tall I had to spend $250 to have a step installed so I could climb into the cab. It has 6 gears and a 240 horsepower Cummins diesel engine that will pull a 24-foot trailer at 80 miles an hour for over 400 miles without stopping. I know that because I've traversed Nebraska on I-80 with my new behemoth, which is not an experience for the weak-kneed. For those of you who think that 80 miles per hour is a little fast, understand that on the plains of Nebraska, you do 80 or get run over. The CD player has better sound than any home system we own, and I find myself playing it as loud as any 16-year-old with a boom box. I am, of course, a little embarrassed by all this, but I must admit that my new Dodge pickup truck has brought me a great deal of pleasure.

It replaced a Dodge pickup with 190,000 miles, a torn front seat, a front bumper held on with baling wire and no radio at all. I kept the old pickup for two reasons. One, it is still mechanically sound, and, two, Julie won't let me drive the new one over our farm.

A week or two into harvest, I had to admit she had a point. I hit a particularly nasty bump when trying to balance a cup of coffee and my cellphone, while dodging shrapnel from the seat and dash. Thermoses were flying, a biography of John Marshall I borrowed from my brother two years ago and still haven't finished was sliding to the floor, at least three days of newspapers were fluttering in the breeze, and I had a particularly nasty scrape with a flying crescent wrench. All the while coughing and sneezing because during soybean harvest everything is coated with a thick layer of bean dust, which, as a result of my bouncing, was becoming airborne in a noxious cloud. It is not a fault of mine to be overly careful with my possessions, at least until the "new" wears off. I want to avoid this kind of abuse of my latest purchase. After all, it cost more than the profits from my first two years of farming.

Still, my pickup has experienced the bumps and bruises of everyday life here on Hurst Farms. Once, years ago, we had a truck tarp installed on a grain truck. The fellow who put the tarp on used a picture of our vehicle in his advertising for years. I had more than one neighbor comment that he had done so because "everybody knew" that, to coin a phrase, if it could make it on the Hurst Farms, it could make it anywhere.

This time, within a week of bringing my new pickup home, my wife came running into the house, announcing in the portentous tones which only wives are capable of, that we had a problem, and I had better come quickly. …

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