tailgate tale

Green antique Chevy truck in front of trees

Things that make you go “hmmm…”

Thinking about the multitude of meanings that a small word can carry. Take, for instance, “tailgate.”

Sometimes you can associate a word with “good,” “bad,” or “indifferent” memories.

Good memory of a Tailgate = Riding in the back of my grandparents’ pickup truck. My older sister & I would climb in and play in Grandpa’s old Chevy pickup when we visited their farm, and sometimes we rode in the truckbed when Grandma was driving up & down the hilly country roads. My sister remembers that she drove verrrrry slowwwwly when we were back there, but we never worried about falling out. We just thought it was fun to ride back there, feeling free, with the wind in our hair.

Not so good (mostly ironic) memory of a Tailgate = Road tripping to the city for a weekend, I was at the wheel and one of my best friends rode with me in my car. Another friend of ours drove separately, and completely rode my bumper all.the.way up the interstate.

We didn’t have a phone to call her, so we attempted to “give her a message” by tapping the brakes, waving our arms, and slowing down in case she wanted to pass. No luck. She kept on my bumper as if she was practicing a cinematic stunt drive. Eeek! Finally I gave up, and pulled over to a rest stop. And what was her explanation for following so closely? “I was afraid of getting lost, so I had to follow you.” *sigh*

Indifferent (and more ironic) memory of a Tailgate = Coming from a family whose interests did not lean toward sports, I had never heard of “tailgating” as I began my second term in college. My assigned roommate, among others in our hall, took this tradition for granted and considered spending their autumn Saturdays “tailgating” in the football stadium parking lot to be non-negotiable.

The part that I didn’t understand was, why did they judge those of us who were not raised with such a ritual? To each her own, you know. I was entirely too nerdy to care. We weren’t brought up to look down on people; we just wanted to ride down a country road with the wind in our hair.

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