By Richard Mabey Jr.
My father had a great fondness and appreciation for Ford Ranger Trucks. Dad had two different Ford Rangers, in the course of about two decades, from around 1985 till 2005, Dad always owned a Ford Ranger. He simply loved them. His first Ford Ranger was red in color with gray trim. Dad’s second Ford Ranger was white in color.
There was an era, between 1985 and 2005, where Dad was the only one in our neighborhood in Lincoln Park who owned a pick-up truck. My father had a very kind heart, so it wasn’t uncommon on a Saturday afternoon for Dad to drive one of the neighbors, in his Ford Ranger, to one of the big home improvement stores to buy lumber, or an outdoor children’s swing set, or a barbecue grill, or a whole list of oversized products that simply would not fit into the trunk of a car. It was just one reflection of the goodness that abided in the chambers of my dad’s heart.
I remember one morning, in the Summer of 1995, Dad still had his first Ford Ranger, the red one. Dad and I both got up early one Saturday morning, to bring the recycling to the recycling center at the end of Main Street in Lincoln Park. We filled the back of Dad’s Ranger with bags of aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and bundles of newspapers. It was one of those things that I cherished doing with my dad.
After we dropped off the recycling, Dad and I stopped off to Moe’s Sweet Shop for breakfast. We had parked on Zeliff Place. Well, we were sipping our coffee, waiting for our breakfast, when one of Dad’s former scouts came in with his young son. Dad was surprised to the gentleman, who had been a scout in Boy Scout Troop 170, back in the mid 1970’s.
John introduced his son, who appeared to be about eight years old, to Dad and I. And then little Johnny was coached, by his father, to tell my dad something that he dreaded to tell Dad. The boy began to tell my dad that he dinged the driver’s side door of Dad’s truck when he opened the car door too strongly and too widely. John told my dad that he figured the truck belonged to my father, because of all the scouting decals on the truck.
My dad did cringe just a little. But, he assured the nervous little boy that it was okay. My dad told the boy that he was sure that he didn’t mean to hit his truck on purpose. Then Dad invited John and his son to sit down with us, which they did. It was a grand and wonderful little reunion. We reminisced memories of the glory days of Troop 170. And, Dad encouraged little Johnny to join Cub Scouts.
We all walked out of Moe’s Sweet Shop together. Dad nonchalantly noticed the big ding in the door of his Ford Ranger. As Dad drove homeward bound, up Main Street, he simply said to me, “it was worth a ding in my truck to see John again and to meet his son.” And, I know in my heart of hearts, that Dad really meant those words.
Sometimes, when I’m in a grocery store parking lot or the parking lot of one of those big box stores, I might come across an older Ford Ranger. It’s so funny. In a matter of a second or two, just walking by an old Ford Ranger, it can bring back a thousand and one memories. The old cherished memories of a bygone era. Oh, to simply ride with Dad, one more time, in his old Ford Ranger.
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAPTION TO ATTACHED PHOTOGRAPH:
A great photo of my dad in his old red Ford Ranger pick-up truck. Dad simply loved his old Ford Rangers.