The torque of the wrench sent sweat pouring down my face, as the final lug nuttightened on the wheel of my 1960 Ford F-150. Classic whitewall tires make for a classic contrast to the glossy black paint covering the entire body. Father would be proud to see this beauty shining into the heavens above.
It has been a long journey, but it’s time for me to hit the road once again. Kentucky will always be home. Mountain ridges filled with smoke stretching for miles remain deep in my mind and heart. We would lace up the boots and throw on our backpacks for another weekend hike up Black Mountain. Fog would be rolling over the Appalachian ridges in the distance as dinner boiled atop the smoldering coals.
Tonight, Dad had diced up some fresh carrots and tomatoes from our garden behind the cabin. His vegetable stew is something I’ll never forget. The pot began to rumble. Steam swirled its way into my nostrils, with my eyes catching the last glimmer of the sun as it set beneath the evergreens.
A thunderous roar had us sitting straight up in our fleece sleeping bags. A large dark figure was tearing through our backpacks. Vienna sausage cans went flying into the sky along with our much needed propane tanks. Father slowly unzipped the tent door just enough to get an eye out into the dark wilderness. He gingerly reached over for his serrated hunting knife and made his way quietly out of the tent. There was another vicious growl, followed by a grunt. Silence filled the clear night sky.
As the breeze blows through the cab of the Ford, the glistening white wheels whip up the clay behind me. The fragrance of sweet blueberries swirls into my soul and I head into town for Sunday errands. The week usually starts with the early morning mass full of praise and gospels, but today wasn’t a typical Sunday. Through all the grease, sweat, and tears, the black beauty had finally come to fruition.
“We missed you this morning, Jack,” Mary said, as she rang up my weekly supply of spices and sweets. It wasn’t often that I missed church. Father had certainly instilled in me that area of my character. The Lord was somebody I always respected and thought of before doing anything in life.
“Today, I am still blessed though, Mary. Take a look out in the parking lot there.” Her eyes began to well up with joy.
“Is this his old 1960?” She couldn’t fathom how smooth the body was as she brushed her hands along the sides. She wrapped her fingers around the chrome steering wheel and the tears flowed. I hadn’t seen any emotion out of her in so long. Mary had been quiet for quite some time now. Time continues to heal, but the Black Bullet was the true healer.
“It’s finally come home, Mary. He has finally come home.”