Lessons from a Little Red Truck and a Man Named Floyd

26 04 2020

Back when I turned 16, I had the distinction of being the first in what you could call myJohn & his truck family circle to get a driver’s license. My mom, two great aunts and a great uncle did not drive, so it was going to be my job to get us around to all the places we needed to go. Unfortunately, though, I was also the first to get a ticket, have my license suspended and wreck a car. Or two. Or three.  To be truthful, what was supposed to be a blessing for all of us was the curse of the reckless teen behind the wheel. Since no one drove, we didn’t have a car or anyone to practice with me. Another distinction I had was being one of the few that the first vehicle I maneuvered was the driver’s ed car. That did not go well either. When I took my driver’s test, I flunked the first time and had to retake it. Thank goodness for my girlfriend at that time, whose dad and a few others came along side to help me learn. I did get my license, but like I said, it wasn’t a pretty situation. I had so many accidents that it wasn’t long before I was back either bumming rides from friends or walking every place I needed to go. Truthfully, I started to think perhaps it was better if I never sat behind the wheel again; might even live longer.

But then the boss at the place I was working pulled me aside one day and asked why I didn’t drive. I told him the truth and he told me to find a way out to his place the next morning. A friend took me over and Floyd, my boss, came out and leaned against this old red truck, a 1963 short bed Chevy. “You ever driven a three on the tree?” he asked. I gave him an honest answer. “What’s that?” He told me to get in the passenger’s seat and he started this old girl up. I couldn’t believe how sweet the hum of the motor was. Pulling out of the driveway, he took me down the road explaining how to shift. When we got a few miles from the house we switched seats and I drove it back, stalling at least once and shaking us up as I rattled through the gears. He never got mad, just told me what I was doing wrong and how to correct. He also told me a couple other things I didn’t know that helped. We got back and Floyd said, “You want to buy it or not?” I sure did, but I didn’t know how much he wanted. “How much do you have?” Opening my wallet, I had $260. I had just gotten paid the day before and by the way, that was two weeks salary. “I’ll take $225, that will leave you enough to get it plated and fill the tank. Try to do that these 48 years later. This was by no means the type of transportation I wanted to be seen in. An old beater truck just didn’t seem to fit my persona, but it was wheels so I was very appreciative to old Floyd. I didn’t realize then he had done me the biggest favor in my early days of driving.

A couple of my favorite verses are Romans 8:38-39; “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I heard a friend define verse 38 like this, “You are not defined by your mistakes; you are defined by God. He loves you no matter what.”

I had almost given up on driving because I was lousy at it; I know a lot people who did. But Floyd made the point that you might make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. I found out later he really loved that truck, but he saw I not only needed a vehicle, I needed confidence to overcome the problems I had in the past. Legendary basketball coach Dean Smith put it this way, “What do you do with a mistake? Recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” It’s the same with Christ. When you make a mistake that makes you feel like a failure as a Christian, He’s there telling you that you made a mistake, but that won’t stop His love for you. Ask forgiveness and guess what? He does! And whenever I’ve done that; I’ve accomplished more than I ever did before, knowing my Lord still loves and believes in me.

Psalm 103:10-11 “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” Isn’t that awesome?!!

I never saw Floyd after I left that job, but have always been grateful for what this “Traveler of the Rock Road” did for me. Like I said, the truck turned out to be a dream. Ended up taking many road trips including down past Fort Lauderdale in that old girl. I sold it to a neighbor before I left Ohio and he drove it quite a few years. As the years have rolled on; I’ve had many newer and nicer vehicles, but that little red Chevy will always be one of my favorites. Would love to have another just like it. Of course, if I did find one; I’m sure I couldn’t buy it for $225. Who knew what vintage cars and trucks would go for one days. Sheesh!!

See ya next time.





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