My cousin Mike Cox died on August 27, 2012. Although we were very different in many ways, he and I had a connection- a blood tie that bonded us. He always allowed his opinion to flow freely towards anyone whether they wanted to hear it or not! He was a strong- willed man with a big heart. The weekend of his funeral, I started writing something for him. I couldn’t think of anything that symbolized him better then a coal truck.
The road up to Cutshin, Kentucky is lush, windey and narrow. A coal truck is in the middle of our funeral procession slowing the convoy of mourners down as we meander across the hills from Hazard to the Maude Dixon Family cemetery in Leslie County, a place where generations of my family are buried. I am on my way to say my last goodbye to my cousin, Michael.
My mother says “the coal truck driver is my Uncle Jimmy Dale sending his son off to Heaven”. My uncle Jimmy Dale drove a truck for Whitaker Coal and died many years ago, but in my heart, he is driving this colossal heap.
As a child, I learned about Elijah who steered his chariot of fire to heaven. I imagine the coal truck is my cousin’s chariot and I dream of Mike ascending to Heaven with his father at the wheel, a fiery blaze emerging from the coal truck’s muffler as it crosses the sun on its way to Heaven.