Rodney Nelson is a cowboy poet/humorist from Almont, ND

There are several unexplained mysteries I can think of: Why was Stonehenge built; did the Vikings make it to the Missouri River; and why do I continue to buy old trucks a long way from home?

I recently did it again. I bought an old farm truck. It had a broken windshield, a smashed-up hood, several dents, a plywood patch on the floor, and bald tires. It looked like my kind of truck. I started it and it ran like a well-oiled watch. The hoist worked just fine. I got in a bidding frenzy and became the new owner.

It was 80 miles from home and I needed someone to drive me to get it. When I buy questionable old machinery or vehicles I call on John. Although John denies it, I think he loves adventure.

John was having a bad day and his opinions were stated on many topics including his bad experiences with me involving rusting relics which I needed to get home.

The old truck started and ran smoothly. I did notice by the time I left the yard that there was no sign of brakes. I realized there may be trouble with road construction in some hilly areas but threw caution to the wind and accelerated down the road. I soon realized I had purchased another SRV (short range vehicle). It would only run for about five minutes at a time.

We left it by the road after John promised I could use his flatbed trailer at a later date.

John seemed to be in a worse mood when I hooked up to his trailer when we went to retrieve the old truck.

“You better not wreck the tail lights on my trailer this time,” he warned me.

“Do you mean to imply I broke them the last time I used it?” I asked innocently.

Old age has made me slightly smarter and I borrowed a heavy-duty chain hoist in case the truck wouldn’t start and run.

“My wife told me I should know better by this time,” John grumbled as we headed off up the road.

“If it is any consolation to you John,” I said kindly, “people that know better won’t work for me for nothing.”

The truck started and I drove it into position. I got the trailer backed up to an approach and the ramps in place. John gave me lots of instructions on just how to drive it on the trailer.

“Don’t forget you have no brakes,” he warned me. “Put it in low and shut off the key when you need to stop.”

I hate driving things up on that high trailer and had to give the old truck a bit of gas to make the climb up there. It was a noisy function with the truck roaring and John screaming instructions.

“Go. Whoa. Give her some gas. Turn the wheel.” And finally the sickening crunch when the right front wheel went through the rotted deck of the old trailer.

John gave me lots of instructions on just how to hook up the chain hoist and with some luck I winched it out of the hole, got the truck started again, drove it forward and dropped the clutch just in time to keep from smashing into the front of the trailer. John, an old trucker, gave me wonderful instructions on just how to chain it down as he jerked chains and load binders out of my hands and did it himself.

The trip home was a breeze, but we had to back the trailer up to a roadbed to unload. It was up hill and very grassy. My pickup kept spinning out. Again, John was great with instructions.

“Go ahead, farther, back up, try it again. Faster you dumb-bell. Hit it hard.”

When I felt the trailer melt into the grade I knew I was where I needed to be.

“They are gone,” John moaned.

“What is gone?” I asked.

“My tail lights,” John sighed despondently.

We got the truck off. I waited a week and went to visit John. I was pleased to see the new plank on John’s flatbed and shiny new tail lights behind.

I mentioned to John as he fed me a wonderful supper that I was now ready for another auction sale.