September 17th, 2010 – by: ahtibat17
This will be hard to write about in retrospect, but I'll do my best.
Dad had a last minute load of concrete products (culverts, etc for a new subdivision) to what was supposed to be Carterville. Scheduled to load at 7 AM, it took much longer than anticipated. The seven pieces we were to load turned out to be 11, and they had to be manipulated just right to fit on the trailer. Finally, we headed south on 57, given the directions of going west on 13 and at Carterville, look for New Era Road. Dad and I were paying close attention, and once we got miles past Carterville, into Carbondale, we both figured we missed the road.
The truck, where we parked it for the last time.
Now, an 18-wheeler cannot turn around just anywhere, and just as we were about to give up, we came across the road -- on the other side of Carbondale. Those directions SUCKED. Once we found the road, the jobsight was within viewing distance, and we got the truck situated to be unloaded. Now is when I got concerned. You see, Dad hadn't felt real well all summer long, but he blamed it on heat and age and his knees. But, he never let it get in his way of getting the job done. Now, when I go with Dad, I help. I pull chains, I'm not afraid of dirt or rust or grease. But, I'm always secondary to what Dad's doing. Except today. I did everything. Dad leaned against the truck, he just didn't feel good. I pulled chains, I climbed up on the trailer to help the crane, I put everything away. And I didn't think twice about it -- I knew what to do. But, I was afraid at how sick Dad might be. He never admitted defeat by leaning on the truck. After we were unloaded (thank goodness the foreman worked through his lunchhour; unlike the rest of his crew that sat in their trucks to eat and watch us), we headed north, not even stopping for lunch like we usually do. We got to Salem, parked the truck and went home, another day on the log.
Little did we know, Dad would be admitted to the local hospital the next night and then transferred to St. Louis. Days later, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Spending 24 days in the hospital, given bad news after bad news, Dad passed away at home on October 14.