“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
Will Rogers, humorist
Sitting on the attic floor of my parents house, digging through a box of old pictures, I found a yellowed newspaper clipping with the story of a truck driver who considered himself lucky. The truck he was driving had been hit by a train. And the man driving that truck was my father. This happened in 1947, four years before I was born. Growing up, I was fascinated every time I heard him tell someone about the accident.
“I was delivering groceries, “he began. “Stopped at a railroad crossing, I waited as the train passed then started to cross the tracks.”
Holding his hands up, as if steering the truck, he would turn his head slightly to the right and continue.
“There were two sets of tracks side by side. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another train on the second set of tracks coming right behind the first.”
Even knowing what he was going to say next, I held my breath.
“I pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The train slammed into my truck right behind the cab where I was sitting. The truck turned upside down and slid to a stop along the tracks.”
My father shook his head.
“I crawled out the window and got to my feet. I couldn’t see a mark or a scratch on me anywhere.
By the time police arrived, people had grabbed up all the groceries. It was just me and the mangled truck. The next day two managers argued over what to do with me.”
“We should fire you. You cost us a lot of money,” one of them said.
“No, I think we better keep him,” said the other. “He’ll be the safest driver we have.”
They gave my father a new truck, another load of groceries, and sent him on his way.
* * *
A few years ago my father, Harold Wayne Snider – retired truck driver, sat down on a chair in his backyard. He fell asleep in this world and woke up in the next. At his funeral the Pastor asked if anyone would like to speak.
With the help of a cane, a man in the back of the church struggled to his feet. “I have breakfast almost everyday at The Iron Kettle, a restaurant not far from here. Whenever brother Harold came in the whole place would light up. He always had a smile. Just being around him you couldn’t help but be happy too. Tomorrow, when I go there, I’m going to sit in his favorite chair. I will miss him.”
My Father would be the first to tell you, everyday is like that new truck. Another chance to deliver hope and laughter.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
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