Old trucks & speakers: the stuff of memories


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February 4, 2016 10:08 AM

I blew up my second pair of vintage Vivid brand stereo loud speakers a couple weeks ago. 
It wasn’t really a surprise, though, since they were 30-year-old speakers I bought at a garage sale. 
But I obviously had a substantial appreciation for these particular speakers because, when the first identical pair blew up a few years back due to some malfunction related to Polish potato vodka, I immediately bought this second pair when I spotted them at a garage sale. 
They stood waist high in a premium built reddish-brown wooden cabinet with two 10-inch woofers; one active, the other passive. 
They sounded great cranked loud but now I regret ignoring their geriatric state.
I didn’t throw them out however, as I intend to harvest the undamaged tweeters and midrange speakers and then re-purpose the speaker boxes. 
The demise of these speakers left me without a way to listen to my vinyl, so I quickly replaced them with a rare pair of German made Telefunken speakers of likely an even slightly earlier vintage. 
Telefunken is renowned for their microphones and professional recording equipment so logic dictates their foray into Hi-Fi speakers should have produced great speakers as well. 
They’re not as loud as the previous Vivid speakers,  but have a crisper cleaner sound which I’m quickly coming to appreciate. 
I should probably consider buying vodka insurance on them. 
It was when I hooked up these Telefunkens that I decided to once again plug in the electronic picture frame that has been sitting dormant for a long time on top of one of the old speakers. 
It produces a slide show of some of the favourite pictures I’ve taken over the years. 
The first picture to appear was of the very first vehicle I owned: a 1952 International halfton truck.
My Uncle John sold me that truck for forty bushels of wheat and threw in a panel van for spare parts. 
The truck was an all original step-side short-box painted a drab gunboat grey. 
One of my favourite features was the stick shift that came straight out the top of the three speed manual transmission through the floor boards in front of the centre point of the bench seat. 
The tapered cylindrical shaft stuck up almost three feet and the shifter knob on top of it was an old dented metal door knob. 
I loved that truck but unfortunately it didn’t last very long. 
First my friend Dan tried to back over it with our tractor which left a caved-in front fender and then, in a hurry to get to town one weekend, I pumped what I thought was gas into it from the diesel drum. 
But instead of fixing it, I decided to resurrect what I thought was the just as cool or maybe even cooler panel van using the truck for spare parts. 
It allowed me to haul around a whole lot more of my friends but, unlike the truck, its overall appearance wasn’t exactly something that should have made anyone proud. 
And it didn’t help matters that it got an impromptu spray can paint job one day by my friends Dennis and Ken while I unsuccessfully tried to start it. 
Since I was unable to drive away from those talentless Rembrandts, I ended up grabbing a few paint cans and contributed to the paint job as well.
The result was a bunch of psychedelic graffiti-like peace signs and such which made it look like an unfinished version of the Grateful Dead’s The Tour Rat bus. 
My parents hated the new and not so improved look; it prompted a man who later became my father-in-law to introduce me to his gun collection; and it attracted any and every cop within 20 miles of it. 
At one point I had to file a harassment complaint after being stopped by the RCMP five times a day for three days in a row. 
The sergeant agreed to instruct his constables to not stop me so often if I agreed to find a more permanent fix for my driver’s side headlight than getting out and kicking the fender to get it working. 
It’s been said a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case it was worth at least a thousand memories. 
Memories like the time I won a drag race with it against my friend Jay’s 1950 flathead V8 Ford half-ton but only because when he lined up to race he forgot to take his truck out of reverse.
And that time when my friend Ken and I swapped out the tranny in just under thirty minutes, in the driveway, laying on our backs in the snow, so we could use it for Halloween that night. 
That van was a friend and family member to us back then.

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