Lemons and Beaters | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Lemons and Beaters | Mark’s Remarks

By on January 24, 2018 at 9:30 am

It is my belief that every person should own at least one “beater” in his or her lifetime. I think it makes you appreciate hard work and material possessions more.

We are living in a disposable society these days. There are so many “things” available, so many choices. Working hard for something is not as admirable as it used to be, because that disposable society we live in also has a new attitude attached to it: entitlement.

OK, rant over.

Once in awhile, I chat with one of my high school buddies and we reminisce about the days we used to cruise our hometown. I’ve told you before the route we used to take. My small hometown has parallel streets. In those days, we’d cruise up one street and down the next. To get from to the next street, we would either drive through the park or through the Dairy Queen parking lot.

Thrilling, it was. Actually, I’m not making fun.

Some of my best memories are of having a ball driving up and down those streets for hours at a time.

At one point, it was almost cool if you had a ramshackle vehicle. My friend, Mike, had a gigantic old truck, which was funny because he was a rather diminutive, baby-faced guy.  His father had given him this old truck. I can’t remember how old it actually was, but I think it had more than 200,000 miles on it.

It had primarily been used to transport items around the farm, and Mike took it, sanded it down, and applied the primer that is necessary before new paint is applied. I don’t think he ever did paint it. The crowning glory on the old truck were the big, fancy tires he put on, purchased from funds raised from odd jobs and his main job as a grocery store carry-out boy.

The interior of the truck was a different story. How should I put this? It was beyond hope.  The headliner was gone. There were a couple of holes in the floor and you could see the road as you drove. To suggest that the heater and AC worked would have been laughable.  There were several little idiosyncrasies that added to the charm of that vehicle.

All of us loved that old truck and had a lot of fun in it. I’m sure it’s probably long gone by now, but part of me hopes it was resurrected somehow, perhaps with a new engine, interior, and maybe someone figured out how to fix the holes in the floor.

Maybe someone finally painted over the splotchy gray primer. I’ll have to ask Mike about it next time I see it.

My point is this: we all were grateful for having wheels. We were glad we could get from point A to point B. We didn’t care what our vehicle looked like in those days.

Being a pretty fortunate kid, I had a nice looking Ford pickup. Sure, it was an old truck, but it was snazzy looking. I was almost embarrassed that it had no holes in the floor or had a special way of starting. My truck wasn’t as cool as some of the old beaters around town.

So many kids have brand new cars in the affluent towns we live in. I’m not being judgmental. Many parents want to give their kids the best. My only hope is that kids still learn the value of a dollar, the value of hard work, and what it means to be grateful.

Since those old days, I’ve owned a few beaters and some of the nice cars I’ve purchased have eventually turned into beaters.

I have only owned one brand-new car. I worked my tail off to pay for it.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.