The Saga Of Roxanne

With apologies, I must warn you that this post and the following one
are for truck lovers only.

I have always had a weakness for people who show patience, strength,
endurance, loyalty, consistency and reliability. I have instant respect (and
perhaps a touch of jealousy) when I see those qualities in someone. I have
tried all my life to embody those qualities and know from experience how hard
it is to be that person. My mom had all those qualities, except for patience. My
dad did have all those qualities, and I’d long hoped to inherit them from him.
But it doesn’t work that way… they have to be earned, each and every one.

My respect and admiration for those qualities extends to animals and even
inanimate objects… strange as that might seem. But qualities are qualities,
whether displayed by humans or by airplanes, and over the years I’ve come to
recognize the above qualities in many forms.


I bought Roxanne from my good buddy, Tiny Oliver, in 2011. A ’59 Chevy
Apache long bed, she wasn’t yet Roxanne, just an old pickup sitting out in
Tiny’s field next to his shop, with about 10 other junkers surrounding it. She
stuck out like a sore thumb to me, proud and elegant, even out there in
the field. I browbeat my friend with sad tales of woe of the truck simply
rusting out there, when it should be garaged, repainted and given lots of TLC.
He probably sold it to me to shut me up. Whatever… it worked.







New tires, new battery, oil change, tune up and a grease job later she was
running well but continuing to give me problems. A few of the gauges didn’t
work right; I smelled gasoline for two days every time I filled her up. The
overdrive kept going out on me and occasionally she wouldn’t go into reverse.
As I worked on her through the late summer afternoons in my garage, her
personality was slowly being revealed to me… and I didn’t like it much.

One day I had crawled under her to work on the overdrive switch and was
looking up at her floorboard when a drop of oil dripped right into my eye. I
raised up instinctively and hit my head on the frame. I crawled out from
under, found a rag and was wiping my eye when the song “Roxanne” came
on the radio. It was The Police, aka Sting, whom I love. As I wiped at my
burning eye, it occurred to me that I had just received a vindictive hit, a
warning shot, as it were, by this damn truck. I mean, there was no leaking
oil anywhere else… not on the floor, not on me, just a mean little single shot
to my eye. I looked at her as the song rolled across the garage.

“Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don’t have to sell your body to the night

Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light

I loved you since I knew you
I wouldn’t talk down to you
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won’t share you with another boy

I know my mind is made up
So put away your make-up
Told you once, I won’t tell you again
It’s a bad way

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light”

Here it & see it here –

It hit me… she was Roxanne! A proud, classic lady, standing tall in a
crowd, hiding an unkempt, naughty little street urchin somewhere deep inside.
She was Roxanne when she was regal, and Roxy when she was bad.

A Reluctant Roxanne








I felt right away that she didn’t like me. I was fixing a stuck lock on the tailgate
when it pinched my finger, breaking the fingernail and drawing blood. And that
wasn’t the only blood-letting. I drove her down to the Bale Of Hay for a cool
brew after a hot day under the hood. As I parked and stepped out of Roxy,
the corner of the door caught the back of my leg and sliced a small chunk
out of my calf. I limped across the street to the bar, my calf bleeding, while
Roxy looked straight ahead, as if nothing had happened. “Goddamn, Roxy,
you can be one mean little bitch!” I muttered.

Over my beer, I wondered what I had done to draw the wrath of a pickup
truck that I was trying to stabilize and restore to its original condition. what
could possibly be the problem, unless “she” simply didn’t like me?! Hell, I
could always put her back in Tiny’s field to rot and rust, but that can’t be
what she wants either, can it?

Next day I was changing the fuel filter on the gas line when the hood
suddenly let loose and came down hard on my neck and my arm. With a
fresh bump on the head and a bleeding arm, I went back to the cabin, got
the bleeding stopped and grabbed a beer. Back in the garage, I turned off
the radio and stood in front of Roxy. “I have no idea what the hell’s going on
here. I’m trying to restore you, fix you up, and you’re fighting me every step
of the way. I don’t get it… don’t you want to get back to your original self?
Don’t you want to be driven again, cruised down the highway again, looked
at and admired by people on the street again? Look, I want to take care of
you, I only want the best for you. Let me know if you don’t want to be my
truck, if you want me to sell you or take you back to Tiny. Once I know what
your deal is, we’ll go from there.”







Pooh & Roxy on a Montana back road

Well, slowly, between us, things started to change. Sure, I became more
careful while working on her. I made a wedge to slip under the hood to keep
it from falling on me again. Little things. I finally got the overdrive fixed for
good, with the help of Allhands Auto Clinic in Sheridan, and we put a new
exhaust system in her soon after. At this point Roxanne was running smooth
and quiet, most of her problems now solved. She would cruise all day at 70,
turning 2400 rpm. I could live with that.







As Roxanne became more human-like, I began to see part of her problem
with me… only it wasn’t really me, it was my other truck, Iron Jack.
Parked side by side in the driveway, I could almost feel the negative vibes
slamming between them. I observed this phenomenon for a few weeks and
figured out that Roxanne was jealous of Iron Jack. See, I used Jack for all
the tough jobs, the gritty stuff, and saved Roxanne for Sunday drives, if you
will. Turned out she didn’t like that worth a damn. She wanted to be the truck,
the only truck, my only truck. So it was no surprise that, right after i gave iron
Jack to my good friend Roger, Roxanne began behaving considerably better!
Imagine that!

To be continued…

Steve Hulse

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