Hick has always been the resourceful guy, as pointed out in a comment yesterday by blog buddy Jimmy. Hick knows the value of a buck, and I was raised pinching pennies myself.
I went away to college, and spent my first several working years in southwest Missouri. A job back in my hometown area led me to renting a townhouse just down the road from my new workplace. There were four apartment buildings, two of them being two-bedroom townhouses, and the other two being one-bedroom units.
My mother must have been somewhat nervous about where I would live when I came back. Not that she wouldn't have welcomed me back to my childhood bedroom, which she'd filled with craft materials. I think it was more of a case of her worrying that I'd live in a hovel. After all, in Mountain Grove, I'd taken a room over a garage on the end of a home of people who ran a trailer park. And at my next job in Sheldon, I rented a room in an old railroad hotel, second floor, about 10 feet from the railroad tracks. Still in use, I might add. The third place was a little house in Cuba that had a gas furnace that went WHOOSH every time it kicked on, and had squirrels in the attic.
"Oh, I've found just the place for you, honey! They're NEW! It's a townhouse, just built. They're really nice. Come and at least look at them. If it's too much money for you, I'll pay part of your rent. Just give them a chance." So I did. There was absolutely no other apartment housing in the area at the time, save for an old motel with one-room units, and a ramshackle building by the railroad tracks. I didn't need my mom's money for rent. I'd had five years of supporting only myself. Without much outlay for rent!
Mom was thrilled when I moved in. So was I. It was just far enough away from her, but just close enough. There was a pool, where I spent most of the summer. The owner advertised this as a singles complex, and there was only one couple with a little girl, and another with a teenage boy. So the pool was a calm place to be. That's where I met Hick. I was swimming in the deep end, in over my head, and he was sitting on the side, talking to another guy who lived in his one-bedroom building. I had a friend a few doors down who taught at a different school, and we all hung out together.
On the 1st and 3rd weekends, Hick had his boys for a visit. The apartment denizens and I might be floating around in the pool on a Friday evening, and see Hick turn into the drive with his boys. "Here comes Sanford and sons," one of them would say. They said it to Hick's face, too, and he didn't mind. He had a $400 truck, a 1965 Chevy pickup, that was all colors of the rainbow. Only not pastel. I don't know what color that truck was originally, but it had been patched and painted more than a handful of times. It was Hick's sole mode of transportation.
Once Hick and I became a thing, he said he was going to paint his truck. He was an hourly worker then, with an hour drive to and from the city each day, and didn't have a lot of money. He used to say, "I'm gonna get an Earl Scheib paint job on my truck!" But only when he got enough money. It cost $99.99. I think Hick was kind of proud that he'd snagged him a teacher. That still meant something back then. To him, anyway, coming from a home with a sick mom, a blind dad, and no indoor plumbing. Heck, Hick was proud to have a job and a $400 truck!
Anyhoo...Hick asked me what color he should paint his truck. That's when I knew he was serious. I told him that white for the upper part of the cab, and a medium blue for the rest, would look nice. The next time I saw Hick drive in, he'd painted his truck. With cans of spray paint. Oh, and he'd only painted one door, because that's all the paint he could afford at that time. But you know what?
It was the passenger door he painted.
That's my Sweet Baboo.