TRUCKS WE LOVE
Driving her father’s truck keeps his memory by her side.
My daddy, Rex Loy Hammack, lived in
Big Spring, Texas, surrounded by kids— 11 to be exact—and plenty of animals. He raised rabbits, chickens, peacocks, geese, mules and the occasional horse or two. And he always had a truck with a dog or a couple of kids bouncing around in the back.
A man of few words and a subtle sense of humor, my daddy had a way of saying things that got the point across indirectly. If you were going outside and left the door open for too long, he’d say, “Hurry up, you’re letting the flies out.” Another one was, “Are you trying to grow potatoes on those hands?” meaning go wash your hands. And “Where’s the fire?” meant slow down.
The last truck he bought was a brand-new 1976 Ford Ranger F-150. He was so proud of it and always kept it washed and waxed. When he passed away in 1988 at the too-young age of 76, we were all saddened by the loss. My brother Roger, who lived in Alaska at the time, decided to keep the truck. He took excellent care of it too, and this helped keep Daddy’s memory alive. Roger even left Daddy’s stuff in the glove compartment.
Eventually my brother moved back to Texas, and he brought the truck with him. I’d been back in the state for about three years by then, having moved from Montana with my husband and our dog, cats, horses and chickens.
Not long after the move, I had a dream in which I saw Daddy standing beside his old truck. The next day I asked Roger if he still had the truck and, if so, whether he’d like to sell it to me. He said he still had it but he wanted to hang onto it. I said OK, but then a while later he called and said he thought Daddy would’ve liked me to have it—so he surprised me by giving it to me. I’m grateful to him for taking care of it all those years.
I am so happy to have Daddy’s truck. Every time I drive it, I feel like he’s sitting right there beside me saying, “Where’s the fire?”
Rex Loy Hammack’s 1976 Ranger F-150 is the pride of his daughter’s driveway. At right, Rex, then in his mid-30s, leads his horse, Trigger.