A short story about reaching lofty heights
by Warren Brown
Special to The Washington Post
You don't understand the meaning of "Ford tough" until you've spent a week climbing in and out of a Ford F-350 Super Duty XLT pickup truck.
That's climbing as in "climbing."
My height is 5 feet 6 inches. My wife, Mary Anne, barely rises 5 feet. The 2011 model of the F-350 crew-cab pickup stands nearly 7 feet from ground to rooftop. The truck's ground clearance, the distance between the road and its chassis, is 8.2 inches. It's a tall, big truck. We're short, little people.
There was a construction crew working on a house across the street from our home in Northern Virginia. We provided comic relief for them during our time in the F-350 Super Duty XLT.
The workers would snicker and finger-point in a manner stereotypical of alpha males watching something that, in their estimation, is less than manly.
Mary Anne would try to lift herself into the front passenger seat using a ceiling-mounted interior handle. I'd try to give her a gentlemanly boost. That would yield laughter and head-shaking among the construction workers.
They would laugh when I tried to haul myself into the driver's seat, desperately grabbing the ceiling-mounted assist handle on that side. The only thing that made them laugh harder was Mary Anne struggling to lift herself into the driver's chair.
"You're going to drive that thing?"
They'd put that question to both of us, depending on who was taking a turn behind the wheel.
"Yes," we were going to drive that thing. We may be little people - nerdy, urban types - but we love trucks. Mary Anne grew up with them in Texas. I was reared with them in Louisiana. In both states, if you wanted to get something done - haul, pull, or push something - you did it with a truck.