Just when I thought this term was obsolete I see an advertisement for truck running boards. It seems to be the latest and coolest accessory for your chic truck. A running board is a fancy step just under the door of your truck to help you climb into your monster. Baloney! I remember when all cars (and trucks) had a running board. Ecclesiastes is right: there is nothing new under the sun.
I fondly remember my Aunt Rose's model A Ford. It had a rumble seat (go grab your dictionary for that one), and it had running boards. It was so cool to stand on her running board and cling to the window frame as she drove slowly down our street. For a nine year old boy this was such daring fun. But in my youthful judgement the ground was not going past me all that fast. Before my Aunt could stop me I jumped from the running board to the pavement and said, "Bye!" only to discover my running gait was not as quick as I had calculated. I hit the pavement with a resounding "splat". Of course Aunt Rose immediately stopped the car to see if I was injured. When she discovered that it was only my pride that was damaged, she breathed a sigh of relief. And from that day forward she loved to tell the story, with great dramatic flair, especially with the onomatopoetic "splat" to finish the account. I was (and I guess I still am) sensitive to the "dissing" of embarrassing stories about me.
Then there was LeRoy Rafner's running board. He was a high school buddy of mine. When the "gang" wanted to go to the movies or play a little over-the-line, it was not uncommon for us to help LeRoy deliver papers on his route so we could get going sooner. He must have had an old Chevy sedan circa 1938, with running boards from which we would toss the papers at his direction. One of the guys handed a paper out the window to one of us on the running board on either side of the car, depending on which side of the street was the next target house. To tell the truth I'm not sure we saved all that much time, but we did it because it was fun.
Looking back on these intimate experiences with running boards, I'm wondering how long it will take our nanny government to pass laws against the stuff we did as kids with these new fangled things called "running boards".