If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would EVER know anything about monster trucks, I would have laughed and called you crazy.
Not the case now. Things change when a little boy enters your life.
My son collects the 1:64 scale Monster Jam Monster trucks. We have 92. Think that's a lot? It's not. There are 100 or so we still don't have.
When we first started collecting them, he was itty bitty, and we just bought it because it was a truck and he was a boy. It was the Monster Mutt Dalmatian. After that, he got one every time we went to get groceries. He has gotten several for holidays and birthdays leaving us with our 92.
The first trucks we bought came with little flags that we have been hanging around the top of his room. For some reason, the company stopped giving them with the trucks and now you get tattoos. However, because I love my Little Man and he likes the flags, I make them on the computer for the ones that don't come with one.
We have started down the walls and a second row around his room. We ran out of space. I figure after this row, we'll have to spill over into my living room. Won't that look nice?
We also have T-shirts, hats, pennants, autographs, blankets and movies with some trucks on them. You name it, we probably have it.
The sad thing is that I recognize most of the trucks by sight. I usually don't have to see their names, just their color and paint job, and I know who they are. My husband and son do not. Just me. I'm beginning to wonder if I am the only one who really cares about this monster truck collection.
I guess I shouldn't call it a collection. To me, that would mean they sit and don't get played with. Not at our house.
Frequently before they even get to my house, they have flown at least once out of the shopping cart at the store. Several have bent axles, and their wheels just simply come off. How many 3-year-olds know what an axle is? Mine does.
Because of this love of trucks, we took him to the Pit Party before the monster truck show in Wheeling and Pittsburgh last February. The Pit Party is held before the show, and the children (and adults) are allowed down where the trucks are.
Little Man sat in the tire of the Bad News Travels Fast truck in Wheeling. Grave Digger, one of his favorites, was in Pittsburgh. He got his picture taken in front of him. We didn't stay for either show because he was too little. But, Grave Digger was back in Pittsburgh this year, so we thought we'd try the actual show.
So as his Valentine's present from Mom and Dad, Little Man got to go to the show. It was at Consol Engery Center in Pittsburgh on Feb. 18, and eight trucks were there.
Little Man had a great time. As soon as we got close to the seats, he wanted to look down at the trucks. As soon as we sat down, on went the earphones (to block out some of the noise). He cheered and hollered and sang along with the crowd and music. The first truck out, Spike, tried to do a wheelie and flipped over. Little Man's eyes were as wide as I have ever seen them. He was stunned; he's never seen a truck upside down before. Needless to say, the truck was done until the very end because of the damage it did to itself.
El Toro Loco won the wheelie contest. It was driven by a girl. I enjoyed that. It was nice to see a girl win in a man's sport. Maximum Destruction won the race portion of the show. He also won the Freestyle part of the show.
Little Man got to see Grave Digger race, and he came home with some souvenirs that cost us nearly an arm and a leg. Those people selling stuff know how to make the money - target the kids. What parent is going to not buy their child something he or she wants? A cup with a Sno-cone in it you would think might cost maybe $7 at something like that. No. Try $15. For ice in a cup! Little Man wanted one because it was a Grave Digger cup. Little Man got one. I think I'm in the wrong profession. I need to sell ice with flavored syrup. That's where the money is.
That was how we spent our Valentine's weekend. How romantic - smelly fumes, loud trucks, dirt. But I got to spend the whole day with my two favorite Valentines. What could be better than that?
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)