Decorated truck brings smiles
Last updated 1/3/2023 at 3:32pm
RITZVILLE – When Ted Schlund and his wife, Joanne, moved into their home at the corner of Division Street and Third Avenue six years ago, they started landscaping.
One of their many improvements was the addition of a brightly-decorated pickup truck on display in their frontyard. As the seasons change, they modify the truck's decorations.
"We wanted to bring enjoyment and a smile to the faces of people who live around us," Schlund said, noting the truck hasn't always been such a beauty.
It was a working truck.
Before retiring from his job as a park ranger in the San Juan Islands, Schlund drove his 1953 Ford pickup every day.
He used it to haul belongings from the San Juans to Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where one of his daughters attended school.
"We also used it to tow our boat and carry firewood," he said. "The body was in bad shape."
"It was my daily driver, but at one point I decided to fix it up and make it look nice," he said. Schlund spent a year hammering and painting the truck's body. By the time he finished, the truck had become a showpiece.
The couple drove the truck in just about every parade in the San Juan Islands, including Orcas Island. In one parade, ladies from the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter dressed in period outfits and rode in the back of the truck, American flags waving, he said.
When the Schlunds retired to Ritzville, the old truck accompanied them.
"It was too costly to stay on the islands," he said of moving here. "Taxes were going through the roof and the ferries were crazy.
"We spent about five years looking for a small town to retire in.
"It was heartbreaking to see what had happened to many once-thriving farm towns. Quite a few were boarded up and falling apart."
The couple selected Ritzville for several reasons. They were familiar with the area because Schlund graduated from high school in Spokane and played sports in Ritzville in sports.
"That was eons ago," he said.
The couple found their current home online.
"It piqued our interest because the house had character and Joanne loves old houses," he said. "That attracted us to Ritzville.