I like chips.
I like chips of all kinds.
It turns out Pickup Trucks like them too.

The recent shortage of them made new pickups a rare commodity here and all across America. What was once the province of farmers, tradesman and fishermen are now driven by people from every walk of life.

I bought my first pickup truck in the year 2000. Joanne told me I should have a pickup truck.

It was not my idea, but I was open to it.

I ordered a base model, two-wheel drive compact pickup with no carpet, crank windows and absolutely no options. Pickups in this configuration, in Knox County, are known as “The Billington Package.” I had my choice of colors, as I was ordering a truck that could be swapped from another dealer.

I intended to pick a color we both would like. I knew my wife liked blue. I ordered a color called “space blue”

… It did not receive rave reviews.

The little truck served us faithfully for more than a decade. Its finest weekend was when it lugged a giant Kitchen Aid, Side-By-Side refrigerator home from Campbell Hall New York. Leaving Goshen, the four-cylinder engine had its hands full going up long steep grades, leaving the Hudson Valley.

The giant fridge made it all the way home to the back door and safely into its new home and purpose as a strictly beverage refrigerator.

The pickup thing really worked out, and now I am on my third truck.

Joanne is a fan. She drives it to the garden center. Anything she does not want goes in the back of the truck. Sometimes, I get an alert that Joanne bought something somewhere out on Route 90 and it is too big for her to bring home, and can I be there in 10 minutes?

Sure, no problem, I have a truck.

Trucks are very handy. My mother would say they are “handier than a picked-up dinner.” Near the end of her life, I used to take her to church twice a week, Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. She really liked the truck. Every trip to church was a great trip. In her 90s, she would hoist herself up into the cab, and getting out she would drop down with a plop in her high heels.

My favorite Mark Twain quote is, “Beware of anything that has a handle – it always means work.”

This is also true when it comes to pickup trucks. If there is work within a mile, you and your truck may likely be called upon to empty something out and take it to the dump. Most of the time, it is quick work and I do not mind. I can deal with almost anything, but I have one thing I will not consider.

I will not haul bait.

Not that there is anything wrong with bait.

There is a certain satisfaction to working a pickup truck all day on a Saturday, then cleaning it inside and out so it is like new come Sunday morning. Sunday mornings start out with a trip to the store to get a Sunday paper or two. Nice to do it in a clean ride.

The truck I currently drive is fancier than I would choose by far. It has power windows, carpet, sliding rear window and fancy wheels. I have, over the years, learned to cope with all the opulence and impact on my image at the dump. I plan on keeping it for many years, as it handles itself well to the gardening and yard work here on the Grass Ranch.

In the future, our next truck may well be electric. Joanne will pick the color. Not sure about the “Billington Package.”

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.