Every time I drove into town from our home out in the valley, I saw the shiny old red pickup truck sitting next to the barn of an old farm.   It was old but obviously well taken care of just like all of its surroundings.  Neat, clean and still shiny in spite of its age.  I am not particularly an antique car aficionado but for some reason this one spoke to me as I passed, telling me a story…….

It sat in the used car lot of the local car dealership in town.  It was about as shiny as could be for a 1936 Chevrolet pickup truck.  It was 1946 and Chris MacGregor had come home from the long war in Europe just six months ago and settled back in on the family farm to help his mother keep things going.  A year ago, while Chris was still deployed, his father had died of a heart attack and his mother had been left alone to deal with her grief and try to work the farm.  Her only help had been two older farmhands because Chris’ sister had married and moved with her husband to a nearby city.  Chris had always felt that God had kept him alive when so many others had perished in order to keep the farm running for his Dad and to be there for his Mom.  He had hoped to go to college and take some business courses, but that was out of the question now.

The old farm truck was badly deteriorating and was good only for hauling things around the farm as needed.  Chris had hitched a ride into town to find a newer truck that could survive the long trips into town and back.  After looking the truck over, giving it a test drive and doing a little wrangling over the price, Chris struck a bargain with the salesman and headed for home in a “new” truck.

On the long drive back out into the valley where their farm was nestled among the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Chris puzzled over the truck.  It was 10 years old but seemed to have been used very little.  There wasn’t much wear and tear inside or out.  It seemed it had belonged to the son of a family who owned a farm in the next little valley over from the MacGregor farm.  At some point in the future he would have to make some inquiries.

But it was early Spring and time to begin planting and taking care of the many other tasks required on a farm at this season of the year.  The MacGregor Farm was a fairly prosperous farm with a good-sized dairy herd, large hay and alfalfa fields and a decent apple orchard.  They also grew most of their chickens, hogs and produce for their own use which meant many weeks of the Fall devoted to harvesting, butchering and preserving; not to mention the daily chores of gardening, milking and egg gathering.

A month or so after purchasing the truck, Chris had to make a trip to town to the local agricultural supply and feed store for some needed equipment.  As he got out of the truck he was heartily greeted by several local farmers whom he’d known all through his growing up years. He stopped briefly to talk with some of them before going into the store and inquired about their families.  Several of them had sons Chris’ age who had been high school classmates of his and had enlisted when the war had begun, as had Chris.  He was saddened to hear of the deaths of some of them during the war.  A few others had survived to return to their family farms and two of his classmates, who had older brothers to stay on the farms, had chosen to go to college on the G.I. Bill.  Chris couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy for them.

hen Chris came out of the store he noticed that many of the farmers were clustered around his truck, looking it over and talking together. 

“Looks like you got a good buy here, son,” one of the men said to Chris.

“Yes, I believe I did,” Chris replied.

“Do you know where it came from?” asked another farmer.

“No, I do not, but someone took very good care of it and it doesn’t have many miles on it,” Chris said.

“Would you like to know about this truck?”


And so the story unfolded as Chris listened:

Yes, as he had been told at the car dealership, it had indeed been owned by the son of a nearby farmer.  His name had been Davey Abrams and he had graduated in 1937 from high school in a nearby town.  Through all of his high school years Davey had worked odd jobs in town and at neighboring farms in order to save money to buy himself his own truck upon graduation.  And he did it while also helping his father on the family farm.

After graduation, Davey found a beautiful, shiny red 1936 Chevrolet pickup truck of which he became the proud owner.  He worked hard on the family farm, content to be there helping to keep it going.  But on weekends he loved driving his truck into town to meet with friends at the local diner, bowling alley or movie theater.  Davey was mighty proud of his truck and worked hard to keep it looking good and working well.

Then, although there had been constant bad news about the war in Europe and the horrors of Hitler’s regime, it suddenly hit closer to home when everyone woke up the morning of December 7, 1941 to hear of the attack by Japan on our ships in Pearl Harbor.  Not long after, with the U.S. entering the war, Davey, along with many other young men (including Chris who had recently graduated from high school), enlisted in the armed forces.  These two young men did not know each other and did not ever meet during the course of their service overseas.

“It was a sad day for the Abrams’ family,” one of the farmers continued the story, “when, some time after the D-Day invasion of Normandy, they received that dreaded telegram telling them of Davey’s death on that beach so far away.”

There was some solemn silence as the men thought of Davey, their own sons, and all the other brave young men who never returned from the war.  Chris began to feel rather uncomfortable until one by one, the farmers approached him to shake his hand, thank him for his service, and to tell him they thought he was just the right young man to proudly own Davey’s shiny red truck.

And so Spring progressed and moved into Summer with the days filled with many chores and hard work on the MacGregor farm.  One day near the end of Summer, Chris was in town doing some errand-running.  After picking up some items in the drugstore, he emerged to find an older gentleman and a young woman standing next to his truck.

“Can I help you folks?” he asked them.

“Well, young man, we are curious about your truck,” the man said.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Chris replied.  “I confess to being very proud of it.  I found it earlier this year at a car dealer in town.  I call it Davey”.

The man and woman looked at each other with surprise on their faces!

“What?  Is something wrong?” Chris asked.

The two people smiled at him and shook their heads. 

“Not at all,” the young woman said and then she reached out to shake his hand and the man gently put his hand on the hood of the truck.

“My name is Eliza Abrams and this is my father, David Abrams Sr.  I believe this truck had once belonged to my brother, Davey Abrams.  Sadly, he died during the war.  We couldn’t bear to keep the truck around after his death and so we sold it.  Shortly after that we had to sell the family farm and move away.  We never knew what had happened with Davey’s truck.  It looks like you have taken excellent care of it.  But how did you happen to call it Davey?”

Chris told them briefly about how he had acquired the truck and learned about the previous owner.  By then it was getting on toward dinnertime.  They all agreed to go to the nearby diner for a meal.  Chris phoned his mother from a phone booth inside to let her know he would be getting home late.  Over a modest meal, Chris and the father and daughter all shared their stories.  Chris learned that Eliza had just accepted a teaching position at the elementary school just outside town.  She and her father were renting a small farmhouse in the valley not too far from the MacGregor farm.

And the rest of the story……..?

Let’s just say the MacGregor farm is still there in the valley with its tall silos, fields of hay, black and white dairy cows, well-cared-for farmhouse and the barn with the still shiny red pickup sitting next to it under a protective roof.  And nearby to the main farmhouse are several other smaller houses with the name MacGregor on their mailboxes.

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