Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #270

Journal of a Living Lady #270

Nancy White Kelly

Our son, Charlie, recently celebrated his 26th birthday. Ten years ago he got his driver’s license. I remember the apprehension of allowing a new driver on the road. That driver was the baby I had wrapped in swaddling clothes...yesterday. Charlie gradually worked his way from an old junker vehicle to a fairly decent one, certainly more than his dad and I had at his age.

Charlie is a new father and drives a van to accommodate his wife, son, the car seat, diaper bag, stroller and other necessities. Micah celebrated his first birthday last month. It has been an eventful year. The baby was diagnosed with one medical problem after another. Jaundice. A heart murmur. Three months later a growing skull circumference suggested fluid around the brain.

The pediatrician has concluded that Micah has mild cerebral palsy and possibly even muscular dystrophy. Little Micah has been x-rayed, MRI’d, and CAT scanned more than most senior adults. He already has had his adenoids removed and tubes inserted in both ears. A neurologist recently ruled out muscular dystrophy to our great relief.

Everyone agrees that Micah’s mind is sharp. For that we are grateful. We have been and still are hopeful that the initial cerebral palsy diagnosis is incorrect. How thrilled Buddy and I were when Micah took his first steps last week. Praise the Lord. Wheel chairs aren’t the vehicle of choice for anybody, much less a child.

But, back to our adult child who is now a school teacher. Charlie has long been pining for a Mustang or other sporty vehicle. Alas, financial realities have set in. Tori, a teacher herself, needs to stay home with little Micah. Charlie is the chief bread winner. In this economy, teacher salaries don't buy a heap of dough so dreams often give way to priorities.

I never thought Charlie would follow me in choosing education as a career. Yet, since the week following his college graduation, Charlie has been teaching as well as serving on a church staff. Even more surprising to me is that Charlie has taken up writing in the last year or so. The more he writes, the more I recognize a familiar style of writing. When I read Charlie’s latest blog entry, I asked his permission to share some of what he wrote.

Last week Buddy gave Charlie the family truck. While it isn’t a muscle car, it has been well taken care of…babied actually. Along with several pictures of the truck, Charlie posted this account, slightly edited, for his friends and former college roommates:

“Well... here it is. But then again... there it always was. This is my new truck. It's my new truck, yet I have been riding in it since I was 8 years old. My dad bought this truck new for about $12,000 in 1988. I remember the first time we met…the truck and I. Dad came to pick me up from one of those camps which give parents a reprieve one week of the summer. Holding my suitcase and a plastic bag of soggy clothes, Dad and I walked toward the camp parking lot. I was looking for the pukey- brown, F-150 that he owned. Instead, Dad walked me up to this blue and white steed. It was pretty awesome at the time for an 8 year old boy.

A brand new truck!It sure beat that ugly brown one. I remember when we got that other truck too. It was second-hand, maybe third-hand. Dad paid cash for it in the parking lot of some restaurant. I had to ride home in the truck bed along with several rusty, smelly beer cans.But this new truck was nicer. Much nicer. I have ridden in it for the past 18 years. It is definitely part of the family. Lots of fond and funny memories include Ford Truck Kelly. It was transportation for a vast menagerie of creatures, including rowdy boys, a hundred cockatiels in a make-shift cage and several goats.

And now, the memories will continue. I was planning on getting a Mustang. I got the 302 V-8 part anyway. Micah's medical bills put a kink in my 'Stang’ plans. But that is how it goes sometimes. In some small way I'm glad it happened. It is no hot-rod, and maybe, as one fellow commented, it is an "old-man truck.” But you know what? It is my old-man's truck. And I'm proud to have it.

Today, for the first time, Micah sat in the truck that I first sat in when I was just 7 years older than he is. What was old is new again. Maybe, one day, Micah can have the new Ford Truck Kelly too.”


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