One Saturday morning, I walked into my living room to find a large boy in a white, wife beater shirt asleep on my floor and my son asleep on the couch. I fixed breakfast for them – a rarity in my house – and Dustin carried his plate to the sink and offered to help clean up the kitchen – another rarity in my house.
Dustin, or Diesel, as he is better known has been in and out of my house ever since. Last winter, during a big snow storm, Diesel brought the hood from one of his old trucks, which was then hooked to a 4-wheeler and became the Super Sled (don’t try this at home! Only trained stunt men or bored teenage boys should attempt this feat!!) When my son’s truck was stuck in the snow, it was Diesel who came to the rescue. On the Saturday mornings when I would find myself alone, I would curl up on the couch in my pj’s with a coke and watch all the Saturday morning tv that I never get to watch when anyone else is home. I could almost guarantee that about mid-morning, Diesel would be knocking on my door, wanting to show his newest toy.
Diesel had a talent for bargains. He bought cars for $400 that everyone else had to pay thousands for. He traded a $400 car for a motorcycle about the same time my son bought one that cost every cent he had made working that summer. Of course, I was the only one home when Diesel came by. I told him how nice his bike was, but he said my son’s was nicer and looked better. I still disagree with that, but that was the kind of kid Diesel was. He never bragged about what he had and he always appreciated yours.
Was. On Mother’s Day, while the sun was shining, a dark cloud formed over our lives. Diesel was in a terrible wreck and was killed. His diesel truck that he loved so much was destroyed and the laughter was taken out of our lives. Diesel was always laughing. He was always smiling. He would go out of his way to speak to you. He never forgot a face. Or a friend. Diesel was known for his white, wife beater shirts, but he was always kind and easy going. He was one of the best kids I have known.
Yesterday, as news of his death spread, his friends gathered at the hospital. They stood in groups, crying, talking softly, or standing silent vigil. They spoke of the good times and how much they loved this soft spoken, bear of a man/child. Diesel was 20 years old. Yesterday I saw 18-25 year olds age before my eyes. They met death, stared him in the face, and they stood strong for their friend. They planned memorials and they remembered good times. They stayed as long as Diesel did. When the funeral home left with their friend, they moved to where they hang out every night, hoping this was a dream and that big, red diesel Ford, would coming roaring in - Power Smokin' everyone in sight. It didn’t.
Diesel, we miss you and whenever we see that black smoke roll from a big, chrome diesel stack we will know that you are up there - watching and laughing.