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Let’s Hear it for: Small

March 27, 2021

Another Way for week of March 19, 2021

Let’s Hear it for: Small

(Editor’s Note: Another Way launches an eight-week series on “Let’s Hear It” with thoughts on trends.)

We were shopping for a different truck last year after my husband’s faithful 1992 Dodge Dakota pickup could no longer pass inspection. It had rusted out underneath and the body shop/mechanic who had earlier worked on it to keep it going another few years, said that this time he just wouldn’t risk it—it was not fixable.

The Dodge Dakota was often a useful helper on church clean up day. Husband in truck, Malcolm helping.

(While we’re at it, let’s hear it for state inspections of vehicles, which keep us all safer on the roads, right? I know some states have done away with these annoying, yet safer-vehicle measures.)

I basically hate shopping for vehicles because it is so overwhelming and you suffer from massive sticker shock at every dealer you visit. The fact that our roads in the rural area where we live had been pretty much taken over by ever-bigger monster trucks of the pickup variety had not really sunk in. Oh, I saw them around town and my husband growled at that from time to time, but as long as they stayed on their side of the ever-shrinking white or yellow road lines, I was ok. If they took off roaring from a stop light and dirtied our air with a bunch of extra diesel fumes, well, then I would get up in arms about that. But if a guy or gal wants to drop $75,000 on a huge pickup to pull a travel trailer or boat or whatever, well, that’s their business.

Yes. $50-75,000 was the going price—way more than we paid for our first home. I also remember the heart attack I had when we bought his old ’92 truck (in ’94). Used, they were asking around $12,000. I about coughed my way off the truck lot, but ultimately shrugged my shoulders and Stuart went for it. Suffice it to say we got our money’s worth—some 26 years’ worth. About $444 a year, or $37 a month, not counting repairs and maintenance.

The Dakota did well in snow … once the lane was cleared.

Speaking of breaking down prices to monthly or yearly totals, who signs seven-year (84 months) car or truck loans? That’s almost a mortgage for a vehicle. Many financial experts say if you can’t pay for a vehicle in three years, you need to shop for something more affordable.

I was reading an article on the size of pickups, detailing how hard they are to park, you need a ladder to climb in, unsafe to see shorter pedestrians (wheelchairs or kids) crossing intersections, and noting that too many don’t seem to be actually used for pickup type activities. The ones that really get my husband’s goat are the ones that try to get by with “farm use” cheaper tags on them. For real!

Now, not to be all judge-y of the folks who actually need the large cab pickups (and we have a nice two row cab pickup now, which would easily have held our family of five). This time we got a used 2006 Dodge Dakota which was quite nice and within our budget.

Shiny new-to-us 2006 Dodge Dakota pickup: Neighbor Harold, dog Velvet, and my husband check it out.

Other things that may have grown too big: I hear that houses have pulled back from the monster square footage that some had reached, especially as lumber and construction prices remain on a pandemic high.

Smaller plates make servings of food look larger and more plentiful—and may end up being just as satisfying. Small cans of pop (if you enjoy and still drink sodas) also stay fresher and bubblier than a big liter of sugary drink. If you go for diet drinks, don’t get me started on that. I drank diet sodas for years but when I realized I was paying good money for caffeine-free diet drinks, I realized I might as well just drink water. From my reading, diet sodas are very rarely helpful in trying to lose weight anyway.

To your health on the food front, and on our highways!


Any trends you want to praise—or put down? Comment here!

Or send to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Red! Just the color I would pick.

    About vehicles. I’m certainly with you guys. We pay cash for ours and keep them for a long, long time. We gave our 2003 Infiniti to our son because he needed a car, and the crossover we bought “steps up” and is easier to get into.

    I don’t drink sodas either because of the health hazards though I did have a root beer to celebrate a family event last week. Great post, Melodie. And, yes, my computer is perking along now! 🙂

    • Oh why am I not surprised you’d pick red. 🙂 Thanks for the affirmation on keeping ’em going as long as you can. I’ll have to look up the Infiniti, I’m terrible on car models and all.

  2. From Nicholas by email: “Pickup trucks are a status symbol here in rural southwest Pennsylvania, it seems, unlike 60 years ago when I was a child. Few people had them and those who did actually used them to haul stuff — coal, wood, sand, hay, animals, feed, etc. Now, most trucks are empty and if the drivers want to haul something, they have an expensive trailer. The only trucks seen with dirty stuff like coal in their beds are old, dinged-up rust buckets.

    Nearly every kid had a bicycle back then. Bikes were replaced by 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers and now UTVs, which are everywhere. They are expensive toys.”

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