Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 1)
When I first turned 16 my mom cashed in a savings bond that my grandma had left her, when she died, and bought me my first car. It was an old Ford Focus with balding tires and I had found it while walking home one night from my part time job at McDonalds.
Mom was not thrilled with it, (she said it smelled “pissy”), but I loved it. It was white and the air conditioner didn’t work, and my dad had to buy me an aftermarket radio for Christmas that year so that I could stand to drive in it – in the summer – with the windows rolled down.
I only had it a year.
My dad is a cop and I have an older brother who is in the Marine Corps. Both of them are rough knuckled, aggressive men who spent hours and years sweating and grunting like pigs in a little, local judo dojo. My dad tried to get me started into that mess too, but it never really made sense to me. My soul led me into less hostile endeavors and I decided to pursue a career as a firefighter. I would rather nurture than kill it seems.
I enrolled in a firefighting program, in my sophomore year of high school, and it was while pursuing this training that I lost my car.
It was a typical hot day in the spring and I had just pulled up to a stop light in the middle of a large city that I had to travel through to get home from school. We had recently gone through EMT training and I had happened to bring a small medical kit with me that I planned to keep in my car in case I should come upon an accident or find someone in need; when suddenly, I was involved in an accident and discovered a need…