Moore drives miles and miles just for the smiles

PHOTO BY MARIANNE DEDMON Dave Moore with his “Family Truckster.” A comment he’s heard often in his travels. -- “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, just like the one in the movie.”
PHOTO BY MARIANNE DEDMON
Dave Moore with his “Family Truckster.” A comment he’s heard often in his travels. — “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, just like the one in the movie.”

By Steve Williams

Dave Moore’s Christmas vacation is still on the go in January, and he’s enjoying every minute of it.

So are many others who have seen Moore driving through Knoxville and the surrounding area in “the Family Truckster,” a station wagon fixed up much like the one Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) drove in the 1989 movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Moore has had hundreds and hundreds of on-lookers and picture-takers since he hit road after Thanksgiving.

This reporter and family members enjoyed a ride with Moore through West Knoxville one night last week and saw first hand the smiles, laughs and thumbs-up signs.

Moore, a retired high school teacher and coach, founded the Care 365 program years ago and the Family Truckster is in its first year as part of the Christmas Care program.

Moore said he’s doing it simply to “make people smile.” Christmas can be a stressful time, he added.

The Care 365 program also includes the Careacter Star high school student-athletes it recognizes and the Careacter Star Community Service football games.

When he’s on the road in the Truckster, Moore passes out candy canes and a Teddy Bear when he sees a child he feels really needs one.

The Truckster is a ‘97 model station wagon with wood-grain side panels. Moore said he had been looking for one like it for five years.

Like in the movie, Dave has added a squirrel that looks like it’s jumping out of the tree that lays atop the Truckster with the roots hanging out the back.

One of Moore’s former players from when he was head football coach at Sunbright High in Morgan County, Joe Miller, put him in touch with a man in Wartburg who has a Christmas Tree farm.

Dr. Miller is now the principal at the Morgan County Vocational School.

There are four outside speakers on the Truckster. “Jingle Bells” plays a lot when there are kids close by, said Moore. For the older folks, Moore flips a switch, and Elvis takes over with his Christmas songs.

Moore also bought four cookie trays with the inscription, “Tis the season to be jolly” and stuck them on the Truckster’s hubcaps.

Seventy percent of the “right at 5,000 miles” he’s driven has been in Knoxville, up and down Kingston Pike and in and out of the malls and shopping centers. It’s also been an attraction in Oak Ridge, Loudon County, Blount County, Morgan County, Jefferson County and Sevier County.

“Sometimes it looks like there’s a parade behind me,” said Moore. “I’ve seen some drivers do U-turns to come back and take pictures.”

Moore said he will continue driving the Truckster until the end of January, “because I can’t stand to put it away. It’s still bringing smiles and cheer.”

Moore also said anyone who would like to see the Truckster and maybe go for a ride, can call 966-CARE.

Moore is already planning to have the Truckster back out on the road this summer, too. Remember the movie “Summer Vacation” and the trip to Wally World?

Stay tuned.

 

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