The Best Truck I Ever Owned was Alice

Sitting around the campfire with good friends this past summer, the hour was late, and we were about to run out of conversation and firewood, the way you do. Someone broke the silence, “What was the best truck you ever owned?” Without hesitation, I responded, “That would be my little Alice.” And I began to share my story.

Seems like ancient history now, but 1990 was a pretty pivotal year if you’ll recall. Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in South Africa, The Simpsons and Seinfeld debuted as new sitcoms, and the great Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away. Meanwhile, I was working three part-time jobs, going to school full time trying to get my college degree, and driving my sweet Alice.

Living in a tiny cinder block house and scraping to get by, it seemed the only thing I could count on in my topsy-turvy life was my new truck. A plain little Nissan pickup she was. Painted a keep-you-cool white with burgundy interior, she sported two-wheel drive, five speeds, and all the air conditioning you needed in central Texas in the summer time. She also came “loaded” with cruise control and an aftermarket sunroof the salesman threw in just because he was feeling generous as car salesmen often are. I know trucks are usually boys, but since I was a girl, naming her Alice made perfect sense to me.

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Alice had been the biggest but easiest decision I made before quitting my job at the insurance company. I had planned my exit carefully. Always the pragmatist, I knew that if I was going to be a pauper student for the next several years, I needed something to haul my junk around, that was cheap on gas, new enough to be reliable, reasonably safe, and if there was to be a payment, it needed to be as low as possible. Alice covered all my bets.

She may have been small but Alice was sporty. She could bark a tire in first gear and sipped her gas like a sultry jazz singer in a smoky lounge. Over the years, she hauled friends, groceries, dogs, furniture, parts for other people’s cars, and plain old dirt. The old white camper shell that straddled her back had its own memories. I bought it off a young G.I. headed to boot camp. He needed the $100, and I needed a cover for an impromptu camping trip, much like this one. Yes, Alice served me well. CKB

The moral to this story? I am as loyal to my vehicles as I am to my dogs and my friends, and that’s why after 21 years, my dear friends, there in the moonlight sits the best truck I ever owned. Good night, my sweet Alice.


Infoplease, “1990.”