Our, beloved truck was named the Grey Goose, partly for its color and for the fact that no one else wanted it. We bought the truck three weeks after we were married. My husband and I were living in Charleston, S.C. and our old truck died after a random downpour and high tide perfectly coincided. We took that opportunity to upgrade vehicles to one that would fit our outdoor lifestyle, preferably with four-wheel drive. Little did we know the adventures we were in for with the Grey Goose. If dents and scratches could tell stories, the Grey Goose could’ve written a book.
One such scratch was put there by a huge pine tree in North Carolina. We decided one fourth of July to hike to a small stream to avoid crowds and round up a few wild trout. The road to the stream was so small we drove past it twice. Once we turned down the gravel road, we shifted into four-wheel drive and held our breath. The road was littered with holes and downed trees, and we didn’t get above five miles an hour. The Goose was steady and rolled over pine trees like a champ. After what seemed like an eternity, we made one last turn, which proved too narrow and our truck now had a scratch on the right passenger side door. I don’t remember how many fish we caught that weekend, but I will never forget that winding road or the truck that got us through it. But scratches weren’t all that infused the Goose with character.
Some smells take us back to a particular place or time in the past. Whenever I smell a campfire, I think of the Goose. The Grey Goose never did have that new truck smell, or maybe we just couldn’t smell it. We were newlyweds living at the beach, which meant our truck’s interior was littered with sand, no matter the month. Although we loved Charleston, we longed for the trout we grew up catching in the mountains. Our weekends were filled with driving to the foothills, and since trout live in pretty areas, we camped. The new truck smell did not stand a chance after we accidentally left the windows down while making a campfire one night. We drove three hours with the windows down, but eventually we just gave in. The smell did fade, but every now and again we would be driving on a long highway and the smell of campfire smoke would cause us to reminisce.
The heart and soul of the Grey Goose’s character was found in its rearview mirror. Early on, the reflection was generally that of an 8 foot 5-weight fly rod, made for me by my husband. The Goose hauled that fly rod to and from so many streams and backroads, I have since lost count. A few years into the Grey Goose’s life, the mirror reflection changed to include a golden retriever pup and yellow lab pup. Those two put the interior of the Goose to the test with muddy paws, wet fur, and sharp teeth. Toward the end of our relationship with the truck, the reflection changed once again. This time the Goose would be entrusted to haul one of our most valuable possessions, a baby boy. The mirror now reflected a set of brilliant blue eyes, full of wonder, eager to explore his new world. Although the reflections in the mirror have aged slightly over time, like a good wine, they kept improving.
They say if you love someone, set them free. The Goose was set free when we found out we were about to have our second child. We had been pushing the limits of its capacity for several years, and we now have a larger truck with considerably less character. Although we continue to break it in with scratches and dents, it will never surpass the character of the Grey Goose. The Goose may be gone but will never be forgotten.