Old Yeller Truck

The other day I went to the yellow pickup to see if Hans left anything in there.  Sure enough, there was his Forestry Department issued clothing from when he worked last summer helping out for few days on the wildfire south of Nenana.  It was all folded up neat as a pin and piled on top of the emergency crash bag he and his sister kept in the truck.

As first responders, the crash bag gear stayed in the truck at all times.  And because it cold-started fairly reliably in sub-zero temperatures, the old yellow pickup truck was their vehicle of choice when responding to emergency calls.  You do not want to cold-start your primary vehicle at those temperatures if you can avoid it.

The yellow shirt and the green pants from Forestry were folded very precisely with the red bandana on top still twisted like he had just taken it off.   On top of that were his goggles and yellow hard hat.  His heavy lace up boots were there, too.

Hans grinning atop a Forestry vehicle. Photo by Rob Graham

The clothes were smudged with soot and the boots were caked with mud.  He must have anticipated having to go back to the fire or he would not have left his boots with mud on them.  Hans was very particular about his footwear.

But maybe it rained or something, or the fires burned themselves out and then he got busy and forgot about the clothes in the yellow pickup truck.

Four and a half months later, I sniff the yellow shirt and it still smells strongly like summer smoke.  I want to bring it all into the house and throw it on the floor in a heap in his room where he dropped it when he came home tired.

And pretend he is still here.

Book cover: God's Faithfulness in Grief by Kim Nolywaika

7 thoughts on “Old Yeller Truck

  1. D Ketzler

    Kim, I often find myself thinking about him when we are heading back from a call. This is the time when Hans and I would talk the most. Even though he has moved on his memory lives strong in us all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Derek, it means so much to us that Hans is remembered, and that others are thinking about him. Thank you so, so much for posting this comment – it is a treasure to me. There is so much more I could say, but I will just say again, Thank you.


  2. Pingback: Revised Post: Old Yeller Truck | You Can Trust Him

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.