GET STEPPIN’

So…I have started a new weight loss journey. I won’t go into it here, because that’s not what this blog is about. I’ll discuss it more at another time.

This blog is titled “Get Steppin’”. Sounds like a line out of a movie, doesn’t it? One of the things this new program encourages and allows is to set a step goal and reach it each day. We’ve all heard that the optimum goal is ten thousand steps a day. Yes, I typed that correctly…TEN THOUSAND STEPS A DAY! That sounds like a lot of steps and can be daunting to anyone just starting out. But, there is good news. You don’t have to start out walking ten thousand steps a day. The key is to set goals, attainable goals, and work your way up to it. You may start out by setting your goal at one thousand or two thousand. Whatever you feel you can do per day. This program started me out at two thousand steps, and adds three hundred at a time for every day I reach my goal. Some days I reach my goal and others I far exceed my goal. I’ll get into that in a minute, but do you want to hear some more good news? EVERY STEP COUNTS!! Keep reading (please?).

As I said above, some days I reach my step goal, while other days I far exceed it. These coincide with my work and off days. It’s very easy for me to exceed my daily step goals on the nights I work, because my job requires me to walk and check buildings. Before I know it, I’ve already reached more than half of my goal midway through my shift. But what about the nights you’re off? I hear you ask. Remember what I said above (I’ll give you a moment to go back and look), EVERY STEP COUNTS!! You don’t have to do all of your steps at once. Every step you take doing your regular daily routine counts towards your goal, whether it’s going from the bedroom to the bathroom, the bedroom to the living room, the living room to the kitchen, going outside to get the paper or the mail. You get the idea. And the best part is, you are adding up your steps and you don’t even have to think about it. At some point during the day you want to check your step count, and may even have to add some steps all at once to reach your goal, but you’ll see that it won’t be as many as you might think.

I use the Health app on my iPhone to track my steps. If you have an app on your phone, or some other device you can use to track your activities, that’s good. You might even want to buy some kind of pedometer to track your steps. I’ve been tracking my steps daily and have been pleasantly surprised at my progress. One of the things it makes me want to do is pass the next hundred step mark (so, if I’m at 2,340 steps, I shoot for 2,400 steps, etc).

On November 9-15, my college alma mater, Presbyterian College held its inaugural ScotTrot Virtual 5K to help raise money for student athletes. I was more than happy to register for this event as PC Athletics holds a special place in my heart. On Friday, November 13, after being awake for fifteen hours, working twelve of those and logging close to four thousand steps since midnight that morning, I went home, changed clothes and walked the 5K, bringing my step count for the day to well over ten thousand! This is not typical, but I proved to myself I could do it. I have another 5K in mind for this weekend. I’ll never win any awards or trophies for my 5K times, but I was pleased with the results. When I was younger and hiking every month I was doing about a twelve to fourteen minute mile. Now, thirty-five to forty years later, about one hundred fifty pounds heavier with bad knees, hypertension and asthma, I still averaged about twenty-one minutes and seventeen seconds a mile. I’ll take it.

YOU ARE!

To all aspiring authors, writers, bloggers, illustrators, artists, singers, dancers, musicians and all others:

If you are writing, blogging or otherwise creating with words, you are a writer

If you are drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting or otherwise creating in the visual arts, you are an artist

If your singing and/or playing an instrument, you are a musician

If you move your body to the rhythm, whether for work, pleasure or as part of a cardiac exercise, you are a dancer

Do not let the word aspiring limit your perception of yourself or your talents

Be a writer aspiring to get your works published

Be an artist aspiring to do book covers or have your work shown in a gallery

Be a musician aspiring to perform in front of live crowds or have that album recorded or even teach your music to the younger generations

Be a dancer aspiring to be on broadway or a music video or lead an exercise class or teach others to move to the rhythm

You already are, now go and be

Remembering Charlie

Nineteen years ago we adopted a stray kitten (one of many over the years), a little ball of gray fur that fit well into the palm of my hand. We instantly fell in love with the little kitten and the kids were trying to come up with a name for him. One wanted to call him Charlie and the other wanted to call him Roger, so he was, forever to us – and the vet’s office – Charlie Roger Black.

He was the typical kitten; playful, mischievous, adventurous, a good hunter and affectionate. When we had the screen porch built onto the back of the house, we had a little space at the top of the door that wasn’t closed in yet. Charlie Roger was the first one of the cats to climb all the way up to the top of the screen and jump off the top of the door, landing with a thud on the floor below. And he did it often (until we had the space closed up). I think he lost most of his teeth, and three or four lives, jumping off that door.

We had several more cats and kittens – all strayed or rescued – when Charlie first came around, and they all along quite well, but it was easy to see who had the hearts of the kids.

That’s Charlie on the far left with brothers, Wicket and Yellow Kitty.

As the years went by Charlie was showing signs of age. His eyesight was all but gone and his hearing was, as well. I took to calling him Charlie Roomba (after the robot vacuum cleaner), because he would walk into something, back up and go another way, until he ran into something else. Then he would repeat the pattern until he got where he was going. In spite of this he still knew where his food and water were, and how to get to his favorite sleeping places.

Two nights ago I sat and held Charlie for, what I was sure, was the last time. I expected to say goodbye while I had him in my arms, but he was stronger-willed than we thought and hung in there a little longer. As I type this, we are in the room as he takes his last breaths and crosses over that bridge. We are confident that we did all we could over the years to make sure he was safe, taken care of and loved.

Thank you, Charlie Roger ‘Roomba’ Black, for the laughs, the love and the blessings you brought to our home and to our lives. Rest In Peace.

ROAD TRIP

Wow! What a day I had Thursday, the 16th. To start off, I had a message on my Facebook writing page from a woman who started the Laurens County Writers Guild in our county back in 2016. Up until Thursday morning I wasn’t even aware that we had a guild in Laurens county. Anyway, she asked if I would come to their meeting sometime and speak about my blog and my writing journey. I was very humbled at the invitation, and will try and get to their meeting soon. Also, I thought it was a great way to start the day that I, along with two other members of the Newberry chapter of the South Carolina Writers Association were to be on the local AM radio station in Newberry, to talk about our work and the Association.

I started my day early, getting up and showering for the radio interview. After a quick breakfast I drove the thirty minutes over to Newberry and WKDK Radio AM 1240. WKDK is an institution in Newberry and has been in the same building since it first went on the air in 1946. For decades it has been the voice of the (Newberry College) Wolves and the (Newberry High School) Bulldogs. It is your typical, small town, brick exterior radio station, decorated inside with album covers, autographs and posters of shows through the years. Our interview ran live for thirty minutes with a couple breaks and it was a lot of fun. You can find them online at wkdk.com, or download their app from the App Store.

After the interview I had to drive all the way to the middle of Laurens County to the tax office to pay property taxes. Now…I could have taken the quick and easy route, jumping over to the interstate, heading north to Laurens. However, those of you that know me, know that, given a nice warm day and an opportunity, I’m going to take the back highways and make a journey of it. And I did! Knowing my way around this area like I do, I got on the nearest highway, Highway 121 in Newberry, and headed toward Highway 34 which would take me past farms and fields, through the small town of Silverstreet, and over to Highway 39, which would take me over to Laurens.

Silverstreet is a small, unincorporated town in Newberry County. According to Wikipedia, it is three and a half square miles with a population of two hundred-sixteen people, as of the 2000 census. Driving through I saw a small park that looked as if it had not been used for a while and Smitty’s Country Store that seemed to be pretty popular. I drove across Little River, however, the trees are grown over so thick on either side of the bridge, I wasn’t able to stop and take a good picture. Oh, well, on with the trip.

From Highway 34, I got onto Highway 39 in Chappells, on the southern tip of Newberry County. I had been driving through some pretty parts of the county, noticing the old wood and cement block buildings, long since abandoned and slowly being taken back by nature, but, at the intersection where the two highways meet, there was a new chain discount store. I won’t mention the name, and I’m sure the locals are glad to have it there, but it just took away from the old country charm though which I had been driving and enjoying so much.

Highway 39 took me into Cross Hill in Laurens County. In a past life I worked all of the county and Cross Hill was one of my favorite towns to work. It is a small, old town with great little restaurants and some nice places on the lake. I could have taken Highway 39 all the way to Highway 221 and gone into Laurens, but again, knowing the area like I do, I had to make a couple side trips. From Cross Hill over to Waterloo and down Old Laurens Road to Harris Landing on Lake Greenwood for lunch. I had been by Harris Landing Restaurant and Tiki Bar many times, but had never stopped to eat. I have some good friends who are regulars and I have heard that the food is excellent. What better time to try it out for myself?

The restaurant itself is a brick building which sits lakeside, just off the Old Laurens Road. The inside is decorated with pine siding, plastered with decorated one dollar bills, and a nice bar where patrons can sit and eat lunch. I looked over the menu and it had a lot of great looking choices. I opted for the catfish special. I would have taken a picture, but I was too taken with how delicious it looked and the food didn’t last too long. It wasn’t Keto friendly, so, Dee, if you’re reading this, forgive me lol. I had a great seat with an excellent view of the lake while I ate. For more info on Harris Landing Restaurant, their hours, menu and directions, visit their Facebook page.

I said I made a couple side trips. Well, about a month ago, I bought a little, lightweight telescoping rod and reel at a discount store. I own more rods and reels and fishing stuff than I’ll ever need or use, however, it was not only discount priced, but sell priced on top of that, so, I had to buy it! The thing had been sitting in my backseat, still attached to the cardboard backing, since I bought it (I told you I have more than I’d ever need or use), so I said to myself, “Jim” (I always call myself Jim), “you’re at the lake, the tax office doesn’t close for another five hours, and you’ve got that little rod and reel that NEEDS to be tried out!” So, I drove over to the DNR public fishing pier, unpackaged my new rod and reel, telescoped it out and put a little lure on it. I always keep a couple rods and reels and a tackle box in the Expedition, for just such an emergency. When I say it is a lightweight rod; it has four-pound test line on it and the little lure I put on the end bent the tip of it lol! It’s a neat little setup, though. With just the weight of the lure it cast out about thirty yards and the retrieval was smooth. It’ll be a nice thing to have when I have more time to bream fish, or take my next road trip. Like I said, the purpose for stopping was to try out the new rod and reel, plus it was a nice few stolen moments on the water.

After leaving the lake I made my way into Laurens and the judicial and government building; a place I’m all too familiar with after spending nine years of my past life there.

I paid my taxes and visited a few people who were working, then went for a haircut and back home. It was a great day to be on the road and I am looking forward to my next local road trip.

Picture credits:

WKDK – Google Images

Harris Landing Tiki Bar – Jim G Black; used with permission from the owner

Fishing Stuff – Jim G Black

Laurens County Judicial and Services Center – Google Images

Final Farwwell

My wife wanted a live Christmas tree last year. I wasn’t happy with the idea, because we would spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house and Christmas morning at our daughter’s. No one would be here to see it.

“I will,” she said.

One day, after waking from my after work nap, she happily announced that she had bought a Christmas tree.

“It’s a small tree and won’t take up much room.”

I went out and found the stand, placed the tree in the stand and brought it in the house. She was right, it wasn’t a big tree, standing only about five feet tall and not very big around. In fact, the dress on the angel tree topper that we use was almost as big around as the tree itself! Not wanting to dig through the box for the old lights, I bought some new lights and put them on the tree for her. Her eyes lit up brighter than the tree lights when she saw her tree. The kids brought down the box of ornaments and another box with some other decorations, and soon had a couple dozen ornaments on the tree and the hearth decorated. It wasn’t much, but it looked like Christmas.

Our son took the tree out after Christmas. He lay it across my makeshift table, where I fill up my bird feeders and cut the limbs off, putting them in our little fire ring. Today, when I went to fill up my feeders, I saw the trunk still laying across my table. I thought of how happy my wife was when she announced she has bought a tree, and how it lit up the living room each night during the season.

I picked up the trunk, and stroked the few needles it had left on it as I carried it over to the fire pit. I thanked that little tree for making my wife so happy at Christmas, and gently placed it across the top of the ring.

Take A Rest

Nope, this isn’t a follow up to my previous blog, “Take Your Time” (see my blog from April 29, 2019). This as a trip down memory lane for my American readers, and anyone who has been to America and driven our interstate highways. Yes, I’m talking about those islands of the interstates

The monarchs of the motorways

Those blue sign bastions of the byways

The park-eat-use the bathroom-spend money in our vending machines-take a break from driving, usually a godsend for long-haul truckers and long distance drivers (this was just too long to italicize).

I’m talking about…the REST AREA!

The trophy wife and I have been doing a good bit of traveling by car over the past month or so. A couple trips to the coasts of North and South Carolinas and a couple trips up to the mountains to escape the stifling heat of the South, and we usually stop at a rest area (or Welcome Center, when we cross state lines) to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. As I’ve been driving and stopping, or just looking over as we drive by one of them, I can’t help but remember the days of traveling before there were rest areas.

I was born in Chattanooga Tennessee, the suburb of Hixson to be exact. We moved to South Carolina when I was fifteen. I remember some trips to middle Tennessee, Alabama and up to Ohio, where we would stop on the way to stretch, use the bathroom and maybe eat lunch, but there were no nice, state-maintained facilities. There were, however, woods! Yep, if you had to go, you stopped on the side of the road, ran behind the nearest tree and did what you had to do – or doo doo, if that was the case.

The trips I remember best, though, are the trips we took to Surfside Beach South Carolina before we moved over here. For three or four summers my mom’s family would rent a two-story house at Surfside for a week-long beach trip. The families would gather at my aunt and uncle’s house in Georgia, then we would have a long convoy to the beach. Each car had a CB radio in it, so the families could communicate from car to car on the way (not only was this before there were rest areas, but it was also before modern society and conveniences; you know, the good old days). When we needed to stop, the drivers would tell one another over the CB and pick a place to stop. I remember dad pulling our green Country Squire station wagon – with the wood grain siding – over to the side of the highway, with all of the family cars behind us, and the women making a beeline for the gap in the barbwire fencing, toilet paper in hand, to find the nearest secluded tree. When they were done the men would then follow suit. If it was lunch time dad would drop the tailgate on the station wagon and pull out the ice chest where the bologna, cheese, kool aid and condiments were stored and the bags with the bread and chips. After everyone washed their hands, lunch was prepared and we ate under the shade of the trees along the highway. One time another car pulled in behind our convoy, and a young couple got out and headed for the woods. When they came out, dad asked, “hey, y’all want a sammich?” And that’s the way it was; pee in the woods and then have a sammich and maybe make a new friend with the others who might pull in behind you.

When I was thinking of this blog I thought, Jim (I always call myself Jim), you’ve got people in other parts of the world who will read this (I hope) and not know what you’re talking about. I also thought, that’s a pretty good thought, so I asked my highly intelligent, well-travelled friend, Jo if they had anything like a rest area in England. She told me they had service stations that were buildings, usually with bathrooms and maybe a restaurant inside, with a hotel attached to some of them. I told her we had convenience stores that were set up like that, but without the attached hotel. She didn’t think there was anything like our rest area in England. Wanting to really see what I could find in the subject, I went to Wikipedia to see if they had anything. Well, folks, if you think this post is long, go look up Rest Area on Wikipedia! You’ll spend a lot more time on there than you will reading this rambling, I promise you.

Anyway, not to give a full history and description of rest areas in other countries (I do invite you to go to Wikipedia and read what it says about the subject though. It’s really interesting), I did learn that the UK and Ireland have what are called Lay-bys, which are the most comparable to our rest areas here. Some are only big enough for a vehicle or two, while others can hold several. Germany and Austria have Rastplatz, which may or may not have bathrooms (and I’m not sure about the “tree” rule). And France has Aire de repos, which is basically a picnic area. The Wikipedia site also talks about rest areas (or whatever they are referred to) in Asia, Australia, and North America – what…they don’t have any in Antarctica? Maybe one of my future trips will be to that continent. Then I can come back and update the Wikipedia site.

So…this is my latest rambling. I hope you liked reading it as much as I liked writing it. I always say that any day you learn something new is a good day. Until next time, I hope you get some time to Take A Rest.

Photo Credits: Jim G Black

Location: I-20 Eastbound, just outside of Columbia SC

WRITE ON!!

I was working on a blog titled, “Baseball Caps and T-Shirts”, however, I read something the other night that really got under my skin. I’ll even go as far as to say it pissed me off. I’ve been thinking about this blog for a few nights now, and decided to hold off on the other. You’ll just have to wait for a southern boy’s guide to male “couture”.

So, anyway, I was reading a post in a social media site for writers. The young lady had received her first rejection and, to paraphrase, said that they told her the heart and soul came through, but the writing just wasn’t there. She was asking for help about writing styles and looking for some instruction. One of the replies started by saying, “I don’t mean this to come across as a personal attack…”. Well, you know I had to see what the rest of it said, so I clicked on it.

As I’m writing this, I feel like it may be a little long, so, if you wanna go to the bathroom or fix a light snack before you continue reading, feel free to go ahead (unless you’re reading this on your phone, then you’re probably already in the bathroom).

The replier went on to say that (again, paraphrasing) with so many programs out there making it able for anyone to write and publish books for the mass market – blah blah blah. They ended the reply with, “Just because you can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, doesn’t mean you can be a chef at a gourmet restaurant.”

?!WT ABSOLUTE F?!

Some of you don’t know this about me, but I have a very short fuse at times and will blow up and say things I shouldn’t say.

What? No, Jim! Not you!

Yes, absolutely me. I explode quickly and then I’m over it, not thinking about the ruin and destruction I’ve left in my wake. I’m sorry. I’m trying to do better. Sometimes. Okay, but I have good intentions of doing better, and we all know what good intentions is a paving material for.

So…my first reaction was to blast the replier right there on the site, but that would be against the site rules and get me kicked out of the group. I lose enough sleep over stupid crap without trying to step into more stupid crap, so I decided to take my anger and use it in a more constructive way. Like blasting them right here on my blog!

Yes, asshat! See? There I go again. You just personally attacked every indie author and self publisher out there, of which I consider myself. The writer was responding to a rejection for a story she had written and submitted to editors. It wasn’t like she had just put something out there and got bad reviews. She is trying to go the traditional route, not self publish, and was asking for constructive feedback from a community of people who are supposed to be there to teach and encourage. For the person replying to come back with, what amounted to, “just because you know your alphabet, doesn’t mean you’re capable of writing a story”, is a slap in the face to anyone who writes, whether professional author or simple blogger – like me.

All I can say is, if this guy has never received a rejection, then, he is either the exception or he’s never written anything worth querying. To all of you who are writing, WRITE ON! Do it for you, if for no other reason. You never know who needs to read your words, or who may be inspired by what you do. If it makes you happy, then continue being happy. Look at me. I’m probably the only one who reads my blog, but that doesn’t stop me. LOL! Actually, people do read it, I think. Thank you all for the encouragement and the support you give me. I love you all.

Twitter and My Grandparent’s Farm

So! It’s been a long time since my last post. Last April to be exact. I hope everyone has had a great – and safe – Summer/Winter, depending on which side of the equator you’re on.

You’re reading the title and thinking to yourselves, (I know you are. I can sense it.) “Wow! You’re grandparents got WiFi on their farm.” Uh…no. My grandparents are long since deceased and the farm is long gone. However, if you follow my Twitter account (jimgblack1), you will see the following in my timeline, #vss365, which is a daily writing prompt exercise. The prompts are given every morning and a different very talented writer is responsible for each different month. VSS stands for Very Short Story and, since Twitter only allows 280 characters, yes, you have to keep it short. When I first discovered it I was writing almost every day. After a break I decided to get back to the daily exercise to keep practicing my writing, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded writers.

The prompt for August 1st was cellar. I decided that a theme was what I needed to stay on task, and cellar got me thinking about the old farmstead that my grandparents bought in Georgia back in the 1970s. The old farm became my theme. I was doing good the first three days. The prompts were cellar, sacrifice and Jupiter. Yes, I even came up with a good one for Jupiter. Today’s word, though, had me stumped. Empress! Oh, my. There aren’t any empresses that I know of in Georgia, and certainly none in the 1970s. Suddenly, as things sometimes do, a whole plethora of words invaded my head and a poem started taking form. It’s way too long for #vss365, however, I thought I’d write the whole thing here as a blog, and put an excerpt on the Twitter prompt. So…here goes:

This word, I think will stump me

This one will make me fall

There are no empresses in Georgia

At least, none that I recall

I started my mind wandering

Over animals, minerals and plants

Were there Empress Roses, Empress Quartz

Maybe Empress Ants

So I sat down to an online search

Just to see what I could see

And staring back from the screen

The Chinese Empress Tree

Then all at once I saw it

Very clearly in my head

That stately Chinese Empress

Growing beside the shed

It’s petals pink and delicate

Sickly sweet was it’s smell

The colors reminded me closely

Of an abalone Shell

Okay, by now you’ve figured it out

So I guess I will confess

“A Chinese Empress Tree in Georgia

Surely, man you jest”

Maybe there wasn’t an Empress Tree

On the acreage where I once romped

But you gotta admit

It’s a hell of a poem

And it helped me with this prompt!

Haha!! Those last two lines crack me up! Thank you for reading and supporting my blog and my writing.

Back to the Anvil!

Take Your Time

What comes to mind when you hear those words, “take your time”? Maybe you think of “slow down” or “pay careful attention”. I had a different meaning in mind when I thought about this blog, however, I think “slow down” and “pay careful attention” fit the bill here, too. I’m talking about taking your vacation time.

I recently took two weeks off from work. This is something I started last year and was fortunate enough to do again this year. I turned 52 on April 18th, and have been in my current career for just over twenty-two years, twelve of those as a state employee. I used to feel guilty about taking time off and leaving my coworkers to cover shifts without me there to help. You know what I realized? They don’t feel bad about taking time off and leaving me there. So, in October of 2017 I told myself, “Self…if you wait to take time off only when you have somewhere to go, you’ll never take any time off.” I got to thinking about my work schedule, the fact that my wife is now retired, we are empty nesters and able to take some short-term trips, and I sat down with the calendar for 2018 and started planning my time off. I sat down in October of last year and did the same thing.

Before I go into my plan, I need to clarify some things. I work twelve-hour shifts, which breaks down to about fifteen or sixteen nights a month (anyone who works twelves knows how this works). One week I work Monday, Tuesdays and Friday-Sunday. The next week I only work Wednesday and Thursday. And the weeks alternate like that, so I have every other Friday-Sunday off. During the short weeks (only work Wednesday and Thursday) I can take those two days off and be off seven days. The way it works out I only work about six months out of the year, so I tell people I’m “semi” retired lol! I crack myself up sometimes.

Call it vacation, staycation, playcation or whatever else you want to call it. To me it’s a mental, as well as physical health getaway. Here’s my time off schedule.

One week in January, February and March

Two weeks in April (birthday month)

One week in May

No time off during the summer months, so my coworkers can have vacation time with their kids and families (we’re no longer at the mercy of school schedules since my wife retired, and can take off whenever we want)

One week in September

Two weeks in October (anniversary month)

No time off in November and December so coworkers can spend the holidays with their families (our families are close so we don’t have to travel anywhere to be with them)

I know my plan is unique to me and not everyone has that much time to take, or may be limited to when you can take your time off, due to kids’ school schedules, or spouse’s work schedule, as examples. My point is, if you’ve got the time, “Take Your Time”. If you’ve got a yard project you have been wanting to get done, take some time off and do it. Or at least get a great start on it. And it’s time off that you are working to accrue, so don’t feel guilty about taking it off. I know guys who never miss the opening day of hunting season. They’re in the woods or on the water before the sun comes up. They’ve been doing it right for a long time. Now it’s my time to take my time, slow down and pay attention – to me.

Truck Shopping

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that my beloved truck of the past 13 years has died, lonely, in a parking lot in North Carolina. I wasn’t able to be there in the end, but went last week to learn that there is no hope, other than to put in a rebuilt or new motor. I’m going back today to clean it out and say my last goodbye before turning it over to a salvage company. It was a great truck and we had some great trips together, but I have shed my tears and poured one out in remembrance, so now it’s time to put it behind me and move on. That means truck shopping. And even worse – truck payments!

To be honest, I was hoping that the truck would last long enough to get my son home from NC after his time with the military was up, then I was going to trade it for something newer, anyway. In its last act of defiance, it beat me to the punch, taking away my trade in allowance.

I’ve spent a lot of time online lately, searching auto dealerships in the state and looking at their truck and SUV inventories. I’ve discovered a few things in my searching. One of them is new trucks are expensive as hell! Used ones aren’t much better, either. One question I have is, “Why don’t they put beds on trucks anymore?” My old truck was a crew cab pickup with a six and a half foot bed. A few years back I bought a twelve-foot kayak. You should have seen me driving down the interstate with that thing hanging off the back of the truck.

A sheet of plywood is four feet by eight feet. You used to be able to lay a sheet of plywood flat in the bed of a truck and close the tailgate, and you could stack it up to the top of the bed. Now you have to lay it at an angle, because of the wheel wells, and, even with the tailgate down, you still don’t have eight feet, so you have to also add in straps to hold the load in place. Some truck beds and bed liners have slots built in so you can lay a couple two by fours across the bed and raise it up over the wheel wells to lay the plywood flat, however, now you have about a foot of space below that is empty, unless you are buying studs on which to nail said plywood.

Another thing I’ve noticed, too, is that single cab trucks also have the same short beds, and run almost as much in price as the crew cab or double cab trucks. This prompts another question. “If they’re charging the same price for half a cab, why aren’t they compensating for that by giving a longer bed?” In other words, they should add the length of the missing half cab to the bed, making it longer. Maybe a longer bed is an option I could order, but I don’t want to have to wait for the truck. I want to be able to drive it home that day. If there is a new truck out there with a long bed I have yet to find it online.

I do like a lot of the smaller SUVs I’ve seen, and am leaning closer to those, for the price as well as the better gas mileage they offer. I drive sixty miles round trip to and from work and the gas mileage is important. As a “king size” man a car is just not practical. I like to be able to ride without scraping my knuckles on the road when I hang my arm out the window.

I’m off next week, and will be ramping up my search. Hopefully it won’t be long before people will see my pewter Presbyterian College Alumni plate on the front of a nice new vehicle.