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HUNT: After 13 years, I still drive his truck

HUNT: After 13 years, I still drive his truck

Pennie Hunt

If you have lost someone you love, I am sure you have a meaningful memento that reminds you of them. It can be big or small, but we all have them. I have many. This week marks 13 years since my son passed away at the age of 22. Join with me in sending love to my J.T.

In honor of him, I share this with you…

It sits in the garage. Everyone wonders why I keep it. The dust and dirt of the seasons covers it. I walk by it every day as the months and years come and go.

Twice a year I drive it. I slide in the seat. The smell of him is fading and the air freshener he tucked in the vent is beginning to crumble. I carefully back down the driveway. The gear shift is tight with age. The windows rattle and the water seeps in as I drive it through the car wash. The repair shop asks me why I want the oil changed when there has only been 50 miles driven since the last service. I don’t tell them.

When I drive I feel his arms blend with mine as our hands in unison hold the steering wheel. I push in his Bob Dylan cassette and it crackles loudly through the speakers. Our hands drum to the beat. And we are off. We drive together he and I through 22 years of memories; the good, the painful, the magical and the tragic. We find ourselves in a place where here and there – now and then doesn’t matter. A place where love binds us back together.

When I carried him, I wanted to experience and remember every moment of my pregnancy and every un-medicated contraction during his arrival. It would be my last passage through the process. I re-live these now.

His first steps, his first words and his first day of school blur into the yellow lines of the road we travel.

We drive by the baseball field where his Little League Tournaments were and the skate park responsible for his first stitches.

We stop at the gardens where the stone holds his name and the saying by Rumi.

We pass the gas station where I bought his last tank of gas. The wind whistles as we drive through town by his apartment and on to the interstate where we drive fast as our thoughts and pain escalate. I hear his fishing poles and baseball equipment rattle in the back. The speed is cleansing.

Together we sing, we laugh, we shout, we cry. We say prayers of gratitude for his life, our life together, his brother, his sister, family, friends - and his daughter.

I hear the echo from so many years ago when the phone rang with a voice telling me he was gone.

Carefully I position it back in the garage. Bob Dylan stops. Time is put in park as I feel his beard brush against my cheek and,

“I love you, mom,” hums in my ears.

I answer – “I love you to, honey. I love you so.”

Another anniversary of that phone call comes to an end. His birthday will be here soon.

Until then it sits in the garage.

Everyone wonders why I keep it.

Pennie’s Life Lesson: “Love binds us together no matter what separates us.

Pennie Hunt was born and raised in Rapid City. She is the author of the book, “Love Your Life- NO MATTER WHAT -76 Tips to Live Life With Love and Gratitude,” and writes the blog, “From the Corner of Spirit & Brave.” She is a professional speaker and member of the National Speakers Association. Email:

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