Ol’ Blue

Our house is in mourning. My son and daughter have come to me separately, in tears. “I don’t want her to go. Why does she have to go?”

I explain the circle of life. I tell them nothing lasts forever. I console them with, “She’s had a good life.”

Ol’ blue is going away. They love Blue, even though she is old, past her prime, barely scooting out the driveway these days.

oldblue2Ol’ blue is my husband’s pick up truck, a GMC Sierra S15, the first vehicle he ever bought, brand new back in 1982. When he got his second car, he gave Blue to his daddy and when his daddy died ten years ago, Blue came back to us.

“I don’t want that rust bucket death trap in my driveway,” is the sympathetic remark I likely made to my husband.

He was so happy to have her back. He scrubbed her down and shined her up, him and the kids happily tooling around town in her. I could hear they were home long before they pulled in the driveway, Blue’s ancient engine alerting every neighbor on our street.oldblue

Friends who borrowed her, returned the keys with stunned faces. “There’s no rearview mirror. I didn’t know if we were going to make it up that hill. The clutch…the clutch.” My husband would smile. His Blue could do no wrong. He understood her, knew how to coax what he needed out of her.

earning her keep

earning her keep

There was so much love there. It went far deeper than the faded blue paint pockmarked by rust and dents. It went all the way back to that 19 year old boy, buying his first vehicle, showing his parents he was going to be his own man. That boy became a husband and father who handed the keys to his daddy and said, “It’s yours.”image

In profound grief, those keys came back.

Blue found new fans in our children, who lived for rides in her with daddy. Pushing 50 miles per hour, as cars three decades younger flew past them on Atlanta’s roads, they relished every ride. Yes, they loved being with their father, but they loved Blue because their daddy loved her.

That love is contagious when you’re a kid. It’s why you root for the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Louisville, because your daddy does. It’s why you eat plain Hershey bars, because your daddy does. It’s why you thought vienna sausages on saltines were a delectable duo, because your daddy did.

Ol’ Blue has been owned by two amazingly good men. Those two men loved each other with everything they had. And they loved this little pick-up with its ‘pray the rosary’ bumper sticker and floorboard that floods every time it rains.rosary

Ol’ Blue is going to a farm (donated or sold for next to nothing).

Even I’ve come around on Her. The fact that my husband adores her in all her aged, faded, falling apart beauty is why I love him. He says he can’t wait until I have gray hair. I actually believe him.

There will be a final trip for ice cream and a teary good bye.

Then we’ll be in her non-rearview mirror.

Goodbye, Blue.







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17 comments on “Ol’ Blue
  1. ROCKY SCOTT says:

    Another great story Jaye–I remember my old 1979 Ford P/U that was hard to say goodbye to. The reason I let her (Betsy) go, was having to repair the carburetor every year at 700 buks a pop. You just can’t beat fuel injection in my opinion.

    Later, Rocky

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Rocky, Blue is surprisingly cheap. She is also super old..and tired. Thank you so much for reading…

  2. Carol Shirley says:

    I bet if Ol’ Blue could talk, she could share some precious family memories.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      I know, Carol. I think of that. So much life happened in and around her. I think that’s why it’s hard to let go. She’s been there for more than half his life.

  3. Lisa says:

    Now I love ol’ blue too…

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you, Lisa! Thanks for reading. You wouldn’t love her sitting in the passenger seat while my husband shifts her into gear..but otherwise..she was great. 🙂

  4. Richard Crabbe says:

    There’s something about utilitarian vehicles; my father-in-law ran a large farm in Burke County decades ago, and had a bare-bones Chevy truck. After a trip to the cattle barn, he’d open both doors and hose out all the “stuff” that accumulated on the floorboards. No AC or radio, but always a couple of dogs in the back. What a truck should be, not one of these rolling palaces guys drive now. Cadillac pickup? That was a standing joke when we were kids. I miss my ’74 Blazer, rust and all.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      We love that so much, don’t we? What is it, Richard? There’s a romance in the utilitarian trucks. They get used for real things. I also think in our case, that truck has been in Kenny’s life for 34 years. He grew up and had four children and lived his life, all with that truck in the background…a tiny part of the foundation of his life. It’s like taking a brick out of our house to give her away.

  5. Marsha says:

    My dad is smiling down from heaven ❤️❤️

  6. Elma Ann Csrman Wiley says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way when we sold my daddy’s Chevy S-10 p/u. Didn’t want to let it go but just didn’t need it anymore. Wish I had it back right now.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Elma, my mom still wishes she had her daddy’s truck, a 1949 model. I hope we don’t regret letting her go but her day in the sun is long past.
      Thank you for reading.

  7. Michelle the "Beechnut" says:


    Boy did this one take me back! My grandfather was a West Texas farmer and I’d spend summers working the cattle and cutting wheat with him. His “old blue” was a 1970 Ford pickup with a “2-50 air conditioner.” (2 windows down and 50mph).
    I can still smell the Panhandle dust that coated every inch of it, inside and out, and choked me as the wind blew it all around.

    But the part of this one that really choked me up… wasn’t the dusty memories of grandpa, but your reference to loving all things daddy loves. I’m a daddy’s girl for sure and I may have to steal some of this poetry one day when my father passes. I hope it’s a long while until then. But whenever that day comes, I hope all those things I loved because of him come rushing back and choke me.

  8. Sylvia says:

    This made me cry as well. What a beautiful tribute to Ol’Blue and two of the most important men in your life. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Jim Grey says:

    I think this is a total man thing. I’ve got an old station wagon with nearly 200,000 miles on it that I keep for runs to Lowe’s and as an emergency backup car when someone I know needs to borrow for a while. It looks like hell and it leaks a little oil, but it starts right up every time and feels right when I drive it and I just can’t bear to part with it!

  10. Ricky Shirley says:

    Such a great story! It lets us readers realize Jaye Watson is just like us “human”!

  11. Mike says:

    Don’t sell her! I’m way too sentimental about cars, but – for the price of a Honda Civic you can restore the truck and drive her another half-lifetime. Priceless. Or for less than that, fix up just what is needed and keep her going.
    A car/truck can be kept and driven indefinitely, as long as you stay ahead of it.

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