The old truck keeps running
A. Ray Lee
I saw the old Jeep pickup again. The last time it had been sputtering along belching a miasma of smoke and unburned gas and oil out a blackened tail pipe. Outwardly it appeared the same as before—a beat-up relic. But now, even though I was driving the speed limit, it blew past me with new tires singing and all its pistons firing in sync. Obviously, someone had spent a great deal of time renewing its engine.
I watched in awe remembering a similar Jeep I owned in my younger years when Clint and I were members of the Post Oak Hunting Club. We had spent many deer seasons in the deep woods of Sumter County where ordinary trucks could not go. In later times when I cut firewood to supplement the family’s income it was used to haul numerous cords of wood from beyond the reaches of any road. It was a workhorse of a vehicle used for years until it finally succumbed to age and mileage.
It’s a truth that age and time have progressive effects on materials and men. Changes are unrelenting and irreversible. We may take steps to deal with them, but time and its consequences continue unabated. The old Jeep, despite everything the owner has done, will soon be relegated to the junkyard.
Now that I am nearing my 87th birthday, age has accelerated my understanding of the finiteness of human life. The last years have taken their toll upon my body. Illness and accidents have drastically changed my lifestyle. Old farmers when putting a work animal out to pasture after many years of pulling a plow explained, “The old grey mule is not what she used to be.” My Aunt Effie in her later years was once heard to say, “My get up and go has gotten up and gone.” It seems I can readily relate to these sentiments.
The loss of family members and friends at a younger age than I am now has not gone unnoticed. All the males in the class of ’54 except myself have passed. My life’s mate has been gone for over four years. Paul and I are now the only two sons of J. J. and Lorene remaining. We each have a closet full of canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to aid our physical mobility.
The challenge of retaining the power of youth has driven countless individuals throughout the aging process. There is no magic fountain of youth. The apostle Paul deals with the process of passing through death unto eternal life. In his first epistle to the church at Corinth, he writes of the transformation which takes place. In the closing words of chapter 15, after writing about life and death, he concludes the passage with a question and answers it with a blessed promise: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen and amen.