I’m making new friends – the hard way

  • A BMW is a beautiful car, but the beauty of my 2004 F350 pickup truck is its ability to pull a 16-foot stock trailer loaded with Scottish Highlander cattle. Carole Soule / For the Monitor

Carole’s Corner
Published: 12/26/2021 4:12:49 PM
Modified: 12/26/2021 4:12:28 PM

On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, I ran into a lovely family from Ohio, or rather I ran into their car with my farm truck. I blame my mistake on the newfangled backup cameras we all have in our vehicles. It wasn’t because I forgot to look at the console monitor, it was because it wasn’t there. It never was.

Our other, somewhat-newer truck (2006), the one with a camera and monitor, was in the shop with a gushing oil leak, but farm chores don’t stop when equipment breaks. With an estimate of “a couple of days” for repairs, we had to implement Plan B and put our older (2004) F350 diesel pickup truck, the one without a backup camera, into service. But first, we had to replace its two dead batteries.

Changing a battery in a passenger car can be challenging, but swapping out batteries in a diesel truck is a job for professionals or at least someone with a heated garage and the right tools. Bruce and I chose Sam’s Club because we could wait inside while the mechanics worked their magic.

When driving a vehicle with a camera monitor, I rely on the beep-beep-beep to stop me from backing into telephone poles and sometimes other cars. There was a time I didn’t need a camera to help me back up. In fact, I’ve successfully backed box trucks into tight spots without even a rearview mirror.

When we arrived at Sam’s, we were third in line, so the attendant told me to park. I was under strict instructions to leave the engine running to avoid a re-start. Brilliant me thought that I’d back into the parking space so it would be easy to jump-start if necessary. I looked around, picked a spot, pulled forward, and started backing.

I glanced at the console to check the backup camera that wasn’t there. Crunch! The trailer hitch on my rusty farm truck met the grille of a sleek 2018 BMW sedan from Ohio. The grille did not hold up well.

After providing insurance information, I got to know this amazing family who is vacationing in New Hampshire. John accepted my profuse apologies and shrugged off the damage as “these things happen.” I’m not sure I would have been as generous if the same happened to me. Of course, they hadn’t come to the store just to get their grille smashed. The BMW had a tire that kept losing pressure. But it turns out the store didn’t have the replacement tire they needed. Not their lucky day.

As we walked around Sam’s Club waiting for our vehicles, we met the family in the dairy aisle and upfront after checking out. I tried to soften the blow to their auto by inviting my new friends to the farm. I hope they show up so I can introduce them to farming New Hampshire style and hopefully convince them that I’m a better farmer than a driver.



Author Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs, and other local products.

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