TRUE STORIES FROM A WHEELING WIDOW
I’m writing this article as a shout out to all my fellow truck-widow and widowers. You often hear about football widows and work-widows: but never the poor partner of a truck-obsessed person, and the sorrows that they endure.
One could argue I should have seen this coming: since I’ve known him, my husband has been, let’s say, mechanically minded. It was made clear to me early on in our relationship that if I married him, I’d also be marrying his children. I mean, his trucks. Plus all the gadgets
and parts and who-knows-what-else that comes with them.
I signed up for this life - surviving one of our earliest off-road dates and coming back for more. Who could forget that romantic evening when we took the very first Jeep off-roading, only to have to abandon the truck in the marsh and walk out of the Kanata highlands in the pitch black? Terrifying on its own, but throw in a broken foot, a night with no moon, and a five-hour walk out of the woods and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Me: “I can’t go on. It’s too painful. I think it’s broken. Can you carry me out?”
Him: “Ha! Fat chance of that! Uh, I mean, no. I’m sure it’s not broken, just a bruise, but if it hurts that much, I think it would be best if you wait here [in the pitch dark, deep forest full of howling wolves and freezing scariness] and I’ll come back for you after I get help. OK?”
That should have been enough to send anyone screaming, but my love for this handsome, handy, can-fix-anything, problem-solving man led our relationship to continue.
We lived in an apartment, then a townhouse, then a single house (with a double garage bigger than the house itself; a selling feature for him for sure), followed by a house with an oversized garage in a new subdivision (read: small lot, but oversized garage), and finally, a 45-acre farm. I’m sure you can see how this evolved.
When we moved from our last home to our current farm, it took 3.5 movingtrucks to shift all of our possessions. Two of those loads contained items SOLELY from the garage, the shed and the basement storage (my husband’s truck stuff). He keeps everything: broken fans, old VCRs, fried motherboards, ancient light fixtures. It may seem overwhelming to some. One might even whisper the word ‘hoarder’! But I know better. You never know when an outdated electrical socket might come in useful when rebuilding an engine. True story!
I know all of my fellow truck-widows and widowers will stand in solidarity and understand intuitively without needing me to explain the fact that there is now an entire barn on my property dedicated to the care and conservation of trucks in various states of disrepair. Need an engine? #gotit. Need a winch? A tranny? Any sort of hoist or lift kit or whatchamacallit you could imagine? Oh, we’ve got it. It’s in our truck-barn. Forget the kids’ bikes. Forget the camper! They’ll be fine in the open. It’s the TRUCKS that need a storage space, out of all that nasty cold and snow, where the poor things can be safe and snug and ready to roll next spring.
But wait, what’s that I see? Surely that’s a truck and trailer that wasn’t there yesterday. Has my husband actually taken to sneaking machines in here, hoping I won’t notice just one more? The tarp on top of this mystery 4x4 says yes, although my heart is hoping no.
Missing your beloved? Is he or she out running errands? Are they finishing work on repairing that tricky wet spot in the basement? Oh, no. Oh, no no no. They are out in the barn, music blaring, concentrating on getting that engine singing once more. Just one more tweak. One more thing to try. “You’re okay with putting the kids to bed tonight alone again, right honey? I should just be a few more... hours. Surely this puppy will be trail-ready in no time. I must have that part I need in here somewhere...”
Wondering what it’s like to eat dinner
together as a couple, rather than rolling your eyes and giving in to the fact that your love isn’t coming out of the truckcave until that motor is purring to satisfaction? Oh. I hear you. The hours I’ve missed of having him by my side watching Netflix. The days of holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes, sacrificed for the betterment of mudding.
Let us not forget the truck stored in said barn that has not seen the light of day in what, eight years? I’m told she’s a oneof-a kind, class-of-her own off-roader and better still, the most capable machine in the world. Drive it?? WHAT? Surely you jest! This baby needs her own barn, her own dedicated care-stall, where she can be pampered and coveted, possibly driven out once a year - slowly, SLOWLY!! - To a truck show, but never, ever used for her real purpose. Gads of insurance spent, multiple hours dedicated to her upkeep? Yes! A hundred times, yes. Why would one even question.
And then. The majestic Unimog makes her debut into the sun, a mere 14 years after being purchased. Surely all this care and upkeep, this dedicated patience and gentle touch, has all led to this one wondrous moment, this leaping into her new life of off-road supremacy. She sees the light! She’s off, into the field, around the corner, sun blaring, birds chirping, everything that is right in the world is aligned. And then... slurp. Burble! Urghhh. She is stuck. Sinking in the swamp, buried up to the bumper.
You hesitate, wondering what will happen next. Will your partner freeze in the horror of this moment? Will they break down, grief overwhelming them at the thought of their precious baby mudlocked and scared, unable to break free?
Or will they whoop with joy, rattling of the names of their peeps who can come with Jeeps, trucks, four wheelers, who knows what... machines with various types of pull and power, winching and hauling, that you don’t understand and - let’s be clear here - you don’t even really want to try? My bet is on option three: getting her stuck in the mud is probably THE BEST OUTCOME one could have wished for, the chance to have to call in all sorts of back up to save the day, hauling this princess out of her muddy-stays. Disaster? Hush!! It’s an adventure to relish.
Round up the boys! Round up the kids! Look at the hole she dug. This is going to take awhile.
The new homestead.
Mog in the bog.
The mog's arrival.
A driveway full of Jeeps.
The mog in the bog.