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1989 GMC Suburban - 4 Word

Posted in Features on June 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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1989 GMC Suburban - 4 Word

That was my initial response when I stepped outside my front door one day last week to find that my '89 Suburban was nowhere to be seen. At first, my brain refused to entertain the idea that the truck had been stolen. So I looked up and down the street thinking that perhaps I had parked it elsewhere the night before and had simply forgotten the fact. Wishful thinking.

I walked back to the spot where I knew I had parked it and found some broken glass and plastic - remnants left by incompetent thieves who, instead of using a Slim Jim or a coat hanger to make a less conspicuous entry, simply broke out the window and then savaged the column to hot wire the Sub. I hate sloppy work.

But if these thieves were less than professional in the way they stole the truck, they more than made up for it when they began stripping it down. What was found two days later by the police can only be described as a carcass; much like the remains you would expect to find of a wildebeest once a pack of wild jackals has finished with it. It was unrecognizable. In fact, when I arrived at the storage yard where the police had had the truck towed, and I informed the attendant that I was there to see my '89 GMC Suburban, he simply nodded, raised his eyebrows, and said, "Oh, that one." My heart sank.

Let me paint you a picture. All of the sheetmetal from the A-pillars forward was gone: the fenders, the hood, the front clip, the core support and crossmember, the radiator. The frontend had been reduced to no more than a bare engine and two skinny framerails. All of the doors were gone. The interior was stripped of everything, including the dash, the consoles, the three rows of seats, even my children's car seats. I just stood there staring at it.

To make a bad situation worse, I had used the Suburban on a photo shoot the two days prior to the theft and had neglected to take my camera gear out. It's probably all sitting in some seedy pawn shop even as I write this. So henceforth, rather than filling these pages with wonderful photography of all the trail rides I go on, I will simply be drawing them from memory later and then publishing my sketches.

All sarcasm aside, what makes this loss so great is that the Suburban was the family vehicle. Nearly every weekend, my wife and I would pile in the gear, load up the kids, and go to the beach, the mountains, the desert; sometimes for a day, sometimes for an extended camping trip. For my family and myself, that vehicle represented a certain kind of freedom from the work-a-day world, and, ironically, from suburbia and all that that entails.

I cannot bring myself to bemoan the fact that such people exist. That's life. But it has been some time since it hit so close to home. For now, I will dust myself off, take what's left of my Sub, and begin again. There's nothing else for it. After all, as most of you realize, the vehicles into which we pour so much time and effort are more than just machines. They represent a sense of fun and adventure, and I refuse to walk away from that.

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