About two weeks ago, my aunt called. We try hard to stay in touch. My uncle passed away almost two years ago now. He and my aunt have had a profound impact on my life. I have such rich memories of the times spent on their farm in South East Pennsylvania.
My aunt and I talked for a while before she said, “I’ve been thinking about John’s old work truck and how I don’t really need it any more. Would you want it?” In a flash, memories washed over me…
- I learned to drive a stick-shift on that truck …I can still remember the farm-hands sitting on the tailgate snickering while my aunt patiently talked me through slipping the clutch as I continually bucked and revved until we finally took off down the gravel road.
- I ran a read light in Maryland in that truck …it was heavy-laden with hay and we were headed to the auction after my uncle crushed his hand in a piece of machinery and was unable to drive for a season. My aunt was with me at the time, and we shared laughs about the “red-light-run” to the auction for years afterward.
- I used to shoot groundhogs out of that truck …my uncle would say, “Here’s the rifle and the truck keys. Be careful.” I would turn the key off and coast to a stop near the groundhog hole, crack the window and slide the rifle barrel out. I have the distinct memory of firing a shot from the truck one afternoon. When I relocated the groundhog in the scope, what I found was four little feet sticking up in the air above the meadow grass. One down, 300 to go.
- There is a picture of the large-mouth bass I caught at the Amish farmer’s pond all laid out across the tailgate of the truck. My uncle and my father are in the background as I held up the biggest one. They both have big smiles on their face.
The truck is a good gift. I think it is part of God’s plan for my next stage of grieving the loss of my uncle …and the impending loss of my father. I want to be careful to remember that it’s just an item, and in that sense I don’t want to get too attached to it. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to ponder some of those old memories and to pay attention to the bigger story of what God is teaching me through them.