Prepping the New Truck for Repossession
Did you ever slow down to look at a car wreck as you drove past? You know it is wrong, but somehow or another, you just cannot help but to take a look? Sometimes, morbid curiosity gets the best of you, even when you really do not want to know what just happened. While this story is not in any way so morbid, it is similar insofar as it contains information that you really may wish you did not know, but like me, you know you want to look … so … I hope you at least enjoy the tale.
It is true that Arkansas is the poorest State in the union. However, the area of West Virginia where I grew up, and more specifically, the Appalachian Mountains through West (By God) Virginia, are the poorest locale in the continental United States. In some ways, this is every bit as much by choice as it is by design. People live here, some still, to this very day, without the benefit or convenience of running water or electrical energy.
Outside of the lumber and the coal industries, there is very little industry to speak of, and only a very limited infrastructure in place to support those industries. A few grocery stores, the occasional bar, and a few gas stations and maybe a small service industry or two, and that is about the extent to which civilization has reached our beloved homeland.
When people talk about bringing in jobs and industry, it is popular at first, until people start doing the math and putting together two plus two. If industry was introduced, it would no longer be the home we know and love. The heart of Coal Country simply does not change because nobody, in their hearts, really wants change.
People are by and large contented with the simple life that they live, and at the end of the day, do not want the hustle and bustle of even a small city to interfere with their lives and their homes and ultimately, to intrude on their way of life. As such, a great many people have to move elsewhere in order to avoid of life of welfare and dependency on the benevolence of government in order to survive.
The town I grew up in had about one hundred and twenty people in it, at least if everyone was home for the weekend or the winter. During the summer months, a great many of the local population would work in the coal mines or in the timber industry but pretty much everyone else was forced to move elsewhere in order to look for work.
Sometimes, someone would make it “big” in a small town kind of way, and maybe buy a new plot of land, or better equipment so that they could stay at home and work with the timber industry or maybe even something so simple as a brand new car or truck. Coming back home in a shiny, new vehicle was a sure sign of success and a great aid in finding the affections of a special someone and being able to start a family of their own.
That should not come across as the people being shallow in any way, merely that the poverty is so severe, that any chance for a better life greatly enhances the ability to attract that special someone and get them to pay attention where they otherwise may not.
A friend of my brother had been up north of the line (North of the Mason Dixon Line) working in the construction industry up in Southern Ohio, and had purchased a brand new Chevy pick up truck. He may very well have been the very first person in his family to purchase a truck right out of the showroom. However, when winter time came, like so many of the people back home, he returned to hunt and hole up by the hearths of home for the winter.
When spring rolled around, for whatever reason, he did not head back up north to work, which is surprisingly perhaps, not very uncommon.
Unfortunately, sticking around home also meant that there was no real work … and thus, no real way to keep paying for that shiny new truck. After a few notices and a few phone calls, arrangements were made to have the dealership come and pick up the truck, as it would be left in the general store parking lot with the keys being held by Junior, the owner of the store, ready to be turned over to someone who could properly identify themselves as being from the dealership.
It was actually preferable to do things this way, rather than trying to give an outsider directions to a home outside of the central portion of “town” … for whatever town was actually there. The local names are pretty simple for people who have grown up in the area, but can be a bit confusing for people who are not intimately familiar with the area. If they ask you to head up the mouth of Barn Run, you could spend a lifetime looking for signs and never see one … because they just do not exist in the little, unincorporated towns dotting the countryside.
However, if you are from there, you know that there are only a limited number of runs (side streets) off the main highway, and “Barn Run” is the run with the great big barn at the base of the run.
The same is true of the Mouth of O’Brien which runs up from the mouth of O’Brien creek (which is pronounced crick in the local vernacular).
Once you get up off the main road, the directions to individual homes may become even more confusing for someone not from the local area. Thus, leaving the truck in the center of town seemed to be the best idea at the time given the circumstances.
I know my brother disappeared for about three days, and I never did ask him if he had a hand in it, but I have no doubt that he did. After the truck was finally picked up, there was a celebration of sorts in the local bar. Given that the local town consisted of nothing more than a general store, a post office and a bar, it was a safe bet that at least a third of the people out and about on the town would be at the local bar.
My brother and his friend came in the day after the truck had been repossessed and were all grins and giggles. Again, in a small town, everyone eventually knows everything about everyone else, but it did not take any serious amount of bribing to get them to share their story.
The 350 Chevy was an amazing engine in every sense of the word. A 350 could be pulled out from virtually anywhere and put in virtually any other Chevrolet without any major modifications. Heck, the 350 Chevy could even be dumped into a Mercedes with very few major modifications.
The Small Block 400 Chevy engine was nothing more than a 350 engine block, bored out a little bit. Suffice it to say that, at that time, most of the old Chevrolets and the new Chevrolets were relatively interchangeable … and interchanged they were … in a big way this time.
I had not even thought about it at the time, but I had not heard them drive up. In his new pickup truck, this would not have been any real surprise. In his old pickup … which was the only one he had left now, I should have recognized the sound of the engine as they rounded the corner, long before they ever got to the bar.
By this time, they had made their way up to the bar itself and had managed to find a seat and were just sitting down to relax … and to tell their tale … and what a tale it was … for better or for worse.
It would seem that my brother and his friend had been very busy indeed. While his friend understood that the truck would be repossessed, and rightfully so, he could just not bear in his heart to lose that brand new shiny pickup truck.
However, he was unable to find work, and unwilling to leave home again … at least for a while, even for the sake of work. (Something which I actually do understand to a great degree, though a concept that may be difficult to quantify for people not actually from the mountains)
Thus, he came up with what he considered to be a compromise, and while I question the temerity of his thoughts and actions, I do have to admit that they were apparently open and honest about what they had done when speaking with the dealership, but apparently their warnings went unheeded and the shiny new truck was repossessed as it sat in the General Store Parking lot.
I do not know who it was that they spoke to, and I do know that they said that they had explained to the people exactly what they were doing, and I do know that my brother is many things, but has never been keen on liars, and has never been a liar, so while I may question the manner in which they explained their actions, I do not doubt that they were honest about their intentions.
In what can only be described as an amazing feat, despite the morally and ethically questionable nature of their actions, they had completely dismantled the shiny new pickup truck and the beat up old pickup truck. Well, perhaps that is a bit extreme. They actually just removed the beds and cabs from both pickup trucks.
The old, beaten up cab and bed from his old truck, were placed on the brand new frame and engine of the brand new pickup truck and the brand new bed and cab were placed on the old frame and motor. I am pretty sure that the new wheels were also included with the new cab and bed on the old frame, but I am not sure about that … though it seems to be a rather safe assumption.
Now there is certainly not any way that I am going to try to justify their actions, but considering that they were working in the still cold spring air, without the benefit of a garage, they actually accomplished some truly amazing work.
They did, I am quite certain, explain to whoever it was they spoke to, what they had planned to do. Despite this, when the person who was repossessing the vehicle came to pick it up, one would imagine that they were somewhat knowledgeable in the ways of vehicles, yet they saw nothing wrong and picked up their vehicle as it sat.
What is perhaps even more surprising, is that even a couple of years later when my brother and I did finally leave to find work, nothing had ever come to pass from this event and he was still driving a relatively new truck under an old, beaten up cab and bed. Not one person had complained even a whit about the truck that had been repossessed.
Let us know what you think please!