Clunker trucks to get a blessing on June 24 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ben Lomond

In coastal towns for centuries, fishing boats have traditionally received blessings for safety and a good fishing season. In Northern California’s San Lorenzo Valley, where narrow roads wind beneath towering redwoods,  pickup trucks are just as important to the families that live and work in the mountains.  Dogs, dirt, straw, trash, tools, brush, lumber, furniture, motorcycles — all get carried under caps, in short beds and long beds. And they seem to last forever. Trucks from the early ’50s are a common sight, their big round headlights on  rounded fenders, protected by sturdy rust-dotted chrome bumpers. Sharing the road wth them are the newer generations of pickups, the hemi behemoths with four doors, four-wheel drive, bedliners, air-conditioning, trailer hitches and voice-activated bluetooth. The Prius hybrids, old Volvo station wagons and nondescript white sedans always defer to the pickups on the mountain roads. In parking lots at the market, or the hardware store, retrievers can be seen sitting in the driver’s seat, waiting for their masters to return. 

While the trucks seem to cruise on airfoils of invincibility, a little extra good luck, good wishes, even a good old-fashioned blesssing couldn’t hurt. After all, car repair costs can be catastrophic in paycheck-to-paycheck country.

That’s where Mike Freeman, a retired lawyer, got the idea: Ask his rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ben Lomond to preside at a special event to bless trucks, especially old trucks. Mike uses his old truck to carry him to aid in search and rescue operations in the Santa Cruz mountains. Father Blaine Hammond, a new transplant to the San Lorenzo Valley from the southwest Washington coast, also happens to have an old truck. A kindred spirit. One who appreciates the value of a good blessing now and then. Not to mention the sense of community it can bring.

So on Saturday, June 24, all pickup trucks – especially old trucks – are invited to a blessing from Fr. Hammond in the parking lot of the historic redwood church.

The first annual Blessing of Old Pickups begins at 10:30 a.m. at 101 Riverside Avenue , Ben Lomond. Each truck will receive a blessing, prayers for safety and long (engine) life, as well as a blessing certificate. Oh, the event just happens to occur on St. Christopher’s Day.

While special attention will be paid to old pickups with six figures on their odometers, all trucks will be welcomed “without regard for make, model or denomination.”

The blessings will be followed by a community barbecue at the church at the corner of Glen Arbor and Riverside Avenue, featuring Corralitos sausages. There are no fees for the blessings, and the public also is invited to the barbecue, for which donations will be accepted.

At the barbecue awards will presented in several categories – the more beat-up the better – including one for the truck “Least Likely to Make It to Felton.” Orders will be taken for special commemorative rear-view mirror medals, hats and t-shirts.

Non-truck-owning spectators also are welcome. The event is likely to be over by noon. After all, it is Saturday, and there is work to be done.


About mountain barry

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., I grew up in a beautiful small town, where I could bicycle to the local golf course and to the Buffalo Bills training camp. My dad was from Kentucky and was a Naval officer in WW II. My mom was from a similar small town and could beat my dad at golf. I started my first publication, a weekly newspaper, in 9th grade, and have been at it ever since: college newspaper, graduate school, college press service, daily newspapers in New York, North Carolina and Kansas, business journals in Kansas and California; also corporate communications/p.r. in Kansas and the SF Bay Area. I have two beautiful children, one extraordinary grandson, three remarkable stepchildren and a patient, loving wife who also happens to be an eBay trading assistant. My dogs, cat, gardens and the basketball goal in the driveway round out the picture of my home in a small town in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where mornings are foggy and afternoons are sunny.
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2 Responses to Clunker trucks to get a blessing on June 24 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ben Lomond

  1. Steve says:

    Will this become an annual event?

    • Yes, the Blessing of the Trucks will be an annual event, although no specific date has been set yet. Look for an announcement here and in the Scotts Valley Press Banner, and on the St Andrew’s Web site. It probably will be sometime in June.
      Thanks for your interest.

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