A Sad Day

I received the following email from my son, Bill, this morning. While it is sad, it also displays courage and fortitude that make me proud. (You might need some tissues.)Dad:

On September 03, 2012 I lost a dear personal friend. Jeep Cherokee passed away today at the age of 18 (that’s 140 in jeep years). JC had been hospitalized recently and despite mechanics best efforts including 4 new tires (less than 200 miles), a new power steering pump, new hoses and a radiator flush (that the check hasn’t even cleared from yet) it seems the simplest part brought her to her untimely demise. On her maiden voyage to the land of higher education she overheated due to a thermostat that would not open outside of Moses Lake. I received the call, dropped what I was doing, clocked out from work and raced the 90 miles to where her lifeless frame lay. A consultation with her Doctor on the way educated me on what must be done. A quick trip to Auto Zone produced a new thermostat and 2 gallons of antifreeze which I quickly administered. With my son watching eagerly I yelled “CLEAR” and turned the ignition. The relief in my child’s eyes were heartbreaking as JC roared to life. I listened to her engine for a few seconds and quickly shut it off. With all of the strength I could muster I calmly told my son to put his gear in my truck and to drive it to College…. I would take JC home to her final resting place. You see, there was a knock…. Not just any knock, but the death knock. I limped JC towards home sticking to back roads the entire way so she could avoid the humiliation of having healthy and younger vehicles passing and mocking her. In the small towns along the way people would stop and stare at the aging Jeep knocking loudly but still pushing on. She fought hard and did not have a temperature when we made it to Wenatchee before the damaged rod finally ended her with a bang and a puff of smoke almost within view of Cashmere….. I am confident it is how she would have wanted to go…..

My younger son and his mother arrived quickly with his Vanbulance to pull it home, again by back roads.

While modern technology has made it possible for transplants, JC does not meet the criteria or justification for a new lease on life. After tearfully explaining this to my children the responses were varied but chilling just the same…. The oldest said “don’t you dare buy me a rice burner!” while the youngest simply stated “I get the tires and the stereo, oh yeah and the gas!”. It was a precious moment. Fortunately JC had indicated that she would like to be a parts donor so that other vehicles may live. I feel good about that.

Times like this are challenging and it is natural to question your own mortality as well as your bank account. I will miss JC and will think of her fondly on all future hunting trips and also when I try to figure out how to get work on Thursday?


To read my reply to Bill, click here –> Dear Son


  1. Abby Kelly said

    This clever and poignant! Your son is a great writer. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Raivenne said


    And to think you mocked my iPod bereavement post! Love this!

  3. Hi Charles; Remindes me of my younger day’s ..I lost 2 good friends the same way a 53ford and a 2002 caddy… Thanks for the memories… Bro Pat

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