The Fast Cookie Truck

Nov. 4, 2009

So. Here we are.
†† Itís a bit weird, really. The first week I was back from vacation, I wrote all six editions of my Ozarks Adventures. So I effectively had two and a half weeks of downtime.
†† But now itís Tuesday, and Iím back to the regular gristmill of twice-weekly columns.
†† So. What shall we talk about?
†† Itís been an awesome spate of weather this week. I do not like the time change much, though itís nice to get up with the sun again. Itís a bummer to be in the house by 5:30 when itís dark outside and the mosquitoes are swarming likeÖwell, like mosquitoes.
†† Suzie and I sat on the patio one night this week and watched a bat feasting on skeeters. It was quite a showman, performing incredible acrobatics in the skies above the back yard. I even got out the binoculars to make sure it was a bat, and sure enough.
†† The grass is growing slower, and thatís a blessing. Iíve come to the irrefutable conclusion that the General, my old lawn mower that I have affectionately named after that great soldier Gen. George Armstrong Custer, will need to be put out to pasture this winter. Itís time for a new one. The last time I took it out to cut my momís grass it took me a week to get it started. Literally. Such rheumatisms and burrs are getting more frequent.
†† I hate to think about buying a new lawn mower. I think this one cost $600 when it was new, about twelve years ago. Now Iím looking at a grand for a tractor-style. No way I can touch one of those new-fangled, zero-turn-radius jobs. I could buy a good used car for what one of those contraptions cost.
†† Also next year I think itíll be time for a new vehicle. And I surely hate to think about that. My trusty old Chevy 1500 Silverado is showing its mileage, though. Iíd like to get another, this time a crew cab, because Iíve always regretted not having a back seat.
†† On the other hand, Iíve been having a hankering for a Jeep, one of the new four-door Wranglers with the long wheelbase. It might be a midlife crisis, I donít know. I never really wanted a two-door ragtop Wrangler, but these newer ones are pretty dagnabit cool.
†† Either way I go, Iím going to try to swing a four-wheel drive vehicle. Whatever I drive has to deal with some interesting circumstances, like the time I was fishing a pond out in the middle of a cane field and got my Chevy stuck. I had to call a buddy with a four-wheel drive to pull me out. I caught a buncha fish, though, so it was a minor inconvenience.
†† Itís easier to haul building materials in a truck, like sheets of plywood; itís easier to haul a lot of fishing gear in a Jeep and not have to worry about it getting stolen. Besides, a Jeep is a fishermanís vehicle, a truck is a working manís vehicle. Iím both. Can I get a Jeep with a truck bed? Probably not, and if you can, itíd look like hell.
†† What Iíd like to find is an old Wagoneer. Now that was the consummate Jeep. Remember, with the woodgrain panels and enough chrome to be seen from orbit on a sunny day? That was the vehicle for me, but alas, I never owned one. It was a true ďhybrid vehicleĒ and I ainít talking fancy electric engines and the like. These puppies laughed at the words ďfuel efficientĒ but what you did get was about half a basketball court worth of storage; big, wide, comfortable seats, an air conditioner colderín a witchís nose, a back seat you could stretch out and snooze in. Perfect for entertaining, going to work, getting groceries. But these old lead sleds would hop off the road and climb the Washington monument if you asked Ďem to.
†† That, ladies and gents, was an SUV. Yessir. What is an SUV, anyway? We have glorified it, denigrated it, found every way to justify it and convict it. But in the end, all an SUV is, is a tall station wagon.
†† Yep. Itís your daddyís Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, AMC Rambler, Chevy Kingswood, Chrysler Town and Country, Ford Country Squire, the list goes on and on.
†† The station wagon was forerunner to the SUV, and I think did the same job much better. For one, there was no ďroll over hazardĒ with a station wagon, as they only stood about as tall as your chest.
†† Heck, Iím making myself want to go find a í70 Fairlane wagon. I need to take an aspirin and lie down.
†† The SUV should have never evolved from the station wagon beyond the VW van. There were no other vans. The VW was the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and the official vehicle of every flower child hippie of the 1960s and 1970s. These little German beasts were plain, frugal, Spartan and flat-out tough. That should have been the end of the evolution of the station wagon-slash-van, and if so we would have been blessed that there never would have been perverts in our society, who always, without fail, seem to favor committing their crimes while driving white vans.
†† Itís a little weird to know thereís no more Oldsmobile. Discontinued a few years ago by GM, the namesake of Ransom E. Olds also became the namesake of the rock band REO Speedwagon, also known incorrectly by some as ďthe fast cookie truck.Ē Sure, Saturnís been discontinued, but a world without Oldsmobile? What next, Pontiac? Oh, say it ainít soÖ
†† I gotta go. I think Iíll drive my Chevy to the levee and see if itís dry.