Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: Unconventional Pete

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Unconventional Pete

In the world of trucks & tractor-trailers, a Peterbilt truck or tractor is known as a Pete. Now there are cabover models, called Cabover Petes, and the other types, known as Conventional Petes. Let me tell you about my Unconventional Pete.

One thing that makes it unconventional is that it's a 1989 Ford Pickup ... that's it, up there under the title. Another thing is how I came to have it.

My younger son, Brad, (hey world, he's FORTY-FOUR!!!) is married to a fine young lady named Connie. Connie's parents were divorced and her mom married a fine guy named Doug. He died a few years ago, of cancer. Connie's biological dad, Pete, was an alcoholic for decades, and work in the mines had left him disabled with lung impairment. He eventually ended up with nothing much to his name at all; he lost his house and his car.

One by one, he lost his available places to stay. When the last available family member (other than Brad & Connie) told him he'd have to leave, and when he had no place else to go, Brad and Connie told them to come to their place. They live in a 2-bedroom house and didn't have much room, and it's important that Brad has a place to work in his home, in addition to his office, so things got very crowded very quickly.

At the time, we had a travel trailer. Brad asked if he could borrow it for a few weeks while Pete tried to get on his feet. We said sure, and they set it up at Brad & Connie's .. they have 14 acres, wooded .. and Pete moved in. A few weeks later, Brad approached me and asked if he could buy it from us; Pete loved his little 21' abode and they wanted him to be able to stay there. I said sure, and we struck a deal. And, Pete stayed right there.

Now .. Pete lost his car, so Brad bought an old Ford Ranger for him to drive. It was hit by a truck and totaled, and the other insurance company paid Brad for it. Brad then bought the 1989 Ford in the picture. Pete drove it, until the sad day when Connie found him dead in the trailer. Since that time, it's been sitting at Brad's house; he cleaned it up and put a new clutch in it.

In a whole 'nuther episode of this Cleveland Family Soap Opera, Brad & Connie suddenly found themselves as Court-appointed custodian of 5-year old twins, children of one of Connie's cousins. Now, for folks in their early and mid 40's, the arrival of 5-year-old twins can be very upsetting to the budget. For one thing, they had a Corvette as their family car and it's tough to carry two adults and two car-seats in one of them. Another, they had to make the second bedroom in to the kiddies' bedroom, and adjust the food budget, and add a big item for day care. And the list goes on.

On yet another front, I'm going to retire right around the first of next year. I had a 2006 Honda, and Peg has a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee with under 15K miles on it .. so what do I need with 2 new cars. So I suggested to Peg that we sell the Honda, put the money away, and buy the truck from Brad & Connie.

That's just what we did. The original thought was I would turn around and sell it next year, as I also have a hot-rod S10 pickup truck I could used if we needed a second car. But here comes the rub:

When I look at the old Ford Pickup, I see the kindness and generosity of my son and his wife; the honoring of a father, even when he wasn't honorable in the world's eyes. I'll park that truck and keep it before I'll ever sell it; trust me. I couldn't take any amount for it, now.

So. Stop and think for a minute. How do you suppose God feels about you when you love someone who's unlovable ... when you show kindness to the unkind ... when you give that cup of cold water ... when you do something in God's earthly kingdom that He appreciates from the Heavenlies?

How do you suppose He feels about those checks that folks are sending to help Dr. Klouda in this hour of need? I bet He Xeroxes them and sticks them to His refrigerator.

A lady in our church, retired, had her car die and couldn't afford to buy one. Someone stepped up and donated a late-model sedan for her and she is just tickled pink. I bet that car is as precious to God as the Ferrari I've always wanted (but never gotten) would be to me. Or, better yet, than Unconventional Pete is, to me, here and now.

God loves you, friend, and I bet His heart is touched when you do something that shows Him you mean what you say when you say things like you "Love the Lord", etc. Get your hearts and minds around that thought, realize that you're at least as terrific as that crude, uneducated band of fishermen and tax collectors He left in charge of His ministry, and realize that God wants to do stuff through you that you never DREAMED He would do. This past week had proven that to me over and over.

SO. Got any Unconventional Petes around your place?


At 7:53 AM, June 21, 2007, Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Good Story Bob. I've been the recipient of people like that and on the giving side. God is amazing.

At 5:19 PM, June 21, 2007, Anonymous marie said...

Touching story! You sound just a little bit proud of that son and daughter-in-law! That is a true love of God that shone through to Connie's father from them. He was probably more at peace in that RV than he ever had been!

So, you have a "hot-rod" S-10? Does it have flames going down the sides?

Thank you for the reminder that God wants to use all of us to love and give and receive. We often rob others of blessing when we refuse to accept a gift of love from someone. We, also, have been at both ends and it is amazing how God works in the giving and receiving!

God bless you, Bob!

At 5:39 PM, June 21, 2007, Blogger CB Scott said...

You and Peg are; "Top of the World" people, Bob. Thank you for being around.


At 6:19 PM, June 21, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Marie: Thanks ... I'm blessed as could be with both my sons and their families. And the S10 doesn't have flames. It'll be what's referred to as a "rat rod".

CB: to paraphrase a line from the movie "As Good As It Gets", one of the benefits of having good friends in whom the grace of God is preeminent is this: being around them makes me want to be a better man. You're such a friend, CB.

At 5:06 AM, June 23, 2007, Blogger Tiger Lamb Girl said...

Bob, I'm so blessed I found your blog (a few months ago). I tend to lurk and not comment often.

I don't know why - but I'm always surprised (even though I shouldn't be, lol) that somehow, something you write pertains to me in some way.

I was reading James last night before bed...chapter 2 in particular....and then I wake up this morning and read this And I do feel it's a message to me.

You see - last week one of the elderly men in our village passed away. I'm good friends with his [second] wife. She rang me to ask if we had a spare bed for his adopted daughter (from his first marriage) who's coming for the funeral. Her son is staying with her and she didn't have room (she's 85).

I'll be honest, something slightly churned in me - something selfish -- because I knew this meant (groan) that I'd have to clear out the spare bedroom and frankly, this woman is huge and I thought she would break the bed (I'm not kidding). But I knew I couldn't say I said 'of course' and immediately prayed that God would flush those selfish feelings from my heart. And immediately, that selfish feeling that was plaguing me was lifted. And I felt happy to help provide a bed for this unpopular woman no one else really wanted to accommodate.

Then yesterday morning my son came down with chicken pox. As it turns out, the woman who needed a bed has not had chicken pox. Blessedly another villager has come forward and offered her a bed for the funeral this coming week.

God is faithful and I feel so unworthy. Not because she isn't staying with me now -- but because He lifted that awful dreaded feeling that popped up in me when I was first asked and gave me the strength to say 'yes', when it was needed. I'm not looking for comfort or absolution for my initial feelings. God has taken care of that. I'm just continually amazed at how faithful He is. I can see His hand in everything right now. And I'm praying He will continue with me......especially where my family is concerned. Bless you for blogging.

At 7:24 AM, June 23, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


AS David put it: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10, NIV)

On earth we will always have the old nature. Even the Apostle Paul couldn't shake it, so I doubt you will. So, two things about that.

1) I question whether we need absolution for that which only God can change. Like your initial reaction. David asked God to create a clean heart in him, because we cannot do that ourselves. We cannot clean it up, so David HAD TO ask God to do it.

2) Letting the Lord reign in our bodies does not mean we will always react or feel the way we think we ought. It means we let Christ rule in our members .. our actions .. over our natural self. That's what you did. You didn't do the second best thing. You did the best, as only God could change what caused your initial reaction inside.

3) (of two ... heehee) A person who always has the right reactions, who has no problem BEING that perfect-spirited person, isn't that much of an example to me. It's the guy who walks the walks despite being imperfect, who fights the good fight, that I think I can be like. Victory over the natural man does not inspire me .. victory IN the natural man does.

Hence: you're an inspiration in your little tale of the bed.

Thanks for commenting.

At 2:46 PM, June 23, 2007, Blogger CB Scott said...


I just gotta ask; Do you know al the words to the country song,"I'm a pickup man?:-)


At 3:13 PM, June 23, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

CB: Nope. I remember "Convoy", though, and folks do keep saying to think big.



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