As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about the many wonderful people we have lost in the last few weeks, and in the last year. Also, it is the three-year mark since my dad passed away here at home. I was informed that a few people whose names you may be familiar with have recently gone to be with the Lord. For years (maybe decades), Debbie Brown and Karen Zander could be found standing alongside their iconic show trucks, competing with the very best in the industry, and representing what it means to be a “polished” professional (literally). Debbie and her husband Russ we’re even featured on a 10-4 Magazine cover way back in July 2000. I’m also thinking about Jerry Jeffries, the creator of the cool Double JJ products, including the familiar “J-hook” styled headlight mounts that have become a staple on the custom truck scene. I can’t claim to know these people personally, but I have met each of them in person and had brief conversations with them at the Mid-America Trucking Show in years passed. Each of them were polite, friendly and very professional, and although my encounters with them were brief, I am honored to have met them. My heart goes out to those who they’ve left behind, so I dedicate this poem to them: Russ Brown, Harvey Zander and Gayle Jeffries (and their families). I kept thinking about the times they must have shared together, and the vacancy that remains in their loss. All those seats that used to be occupied by their loved ones, that are now vacant. But, as a Christian, I believe in the promise that God offers each of us through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. And that by His grace, through faith, we will reunite with our loved ones, and once again feel their physical warmth against us. I am looking forward to that embrace with my dad. Who’s in the seat next to you? If you love them, let them know… before it’s just an empty seat.
A park bench on a busy sidewalk,
A padded pew on Sunday morn.
An easy-chair that someone bought,
Around the time the kids were born.
A kitchen chair across the table,
The air-ride seat across the cab.
The chrome and vinyl barstool,
Where we’d have a few and pay the tab.
The carriage on the Ferris wheel,
The office chair that’s in the den.
The saddle on that iron horse,
Where we would ride off in the wind.
The midnight train across the city,
The movie seats where we “made-out”.
The rollercoaster car for two,
Where we would loudly scream and shout.
The booth down at the little diner,
In thickly padded diamond-tuck.
The plastic chairs out on the porch,
The bench seat in my pickup truck.
All these places, you were with me,
All those times cannot be beat.
But now you’re gone, and all I see,
Are just a bunch of empty seats.
But I believe we’ll be together,
I’ll be with you, once again.
I will feel your warmth against me,
And then I’ll see your little grin.
There’s a seat that’s full in Heaven,
I hear it’s called the Throne of Grace.
The One who occupies that throne,
Will reunite us, face to face.