Racing Heart. The Beginning.by Ellen DuBois on 07/29/17
The black Frieghtliner started up in the driveway at 6:54 a.m. Chelle's eyes were still stinging from waking up so early, (she didn't get to sleep until after 1). Dennis, her fiance, wanted to get an early start to the New England Dragway. Racing was his passion and although she wanted him to follow it, it wasn't hers.
He always asked her to go with him and she did for his "maiden voyage". She watched from the hot, metal bleachers and took pictures of him speeding down the quarter mile in his new, black and red COPO Camaro. Chelle wanted to show her support, but after a day of wearing earplugs and baking in the hot, June sun, she knew this wasn't her "thing". She did enjoy taking pictures of him speeding down the track, (she loved her Nikon). She also liked how happy Dennis was, which she hadn't seen in some time. There was something different about his smile, his focus. He was in his element and fully present. Chelle knew whether she was there or not, he'd have a good time.
Dennis asked her to find some stack car haulers with living quarters online. That way, she and their dog Buster could come along and stay comfortable. She found a few that seemed worth looking at, but he was so busy they hadn't gotten one yet.
So, he went racing and she did whatever. Sometimes she took advantage of her time and relaxed, watching Netflix with Buster. Other times she wrote, or visited her music teaching studio to clean, return phone calls and get the place looking the best she could. There were days she found herself puttering around the yard, deadheading the yellow daisies and watching tiny hummingbirds sip from her feeder- camera in hand waiting for a great shot. She went food shopping, which she found incredibly boring but easier than doing it after work. Her father lived about ten minutes away and Chelle often dropped by to say hello. Although she missed her mother, she found comfort in being with her dad in the town and the house she grew up in.
At almost 70 years young, Dennis's desire to race resurfaced to the point of obsession and he was charging ahead, full throttle, toward earning enough points for a chance to compete in the next national event. That meant making the 2 hour trip to New Hampshire on Wednesdays for "Test and Tune", his favorite day to race. He sometimes went on Saturdays to make some additional passes, but he couldn't get as many in because there were so many classes and cars running. That's why he preferred Wednesdays. Nobody got in his way. He didn't make Test and Tune this week because his back pain was through the roof. That said a lot because nothing short of crippling pain would ever prevent him from living his dream- winning.
She listened to the distinguishable purr of the diesel engine in the driveway- a sound that had become familiar to her since Dennis brought the truck home from Texas to Massachusetts earlier that year. The ride was hell. He was sick with some sort of bug and did most of the driving. His best friend was with him, but couldn't see well enough at night to drive. So again, despite the odds, Dennis drove the twenty-one hours home to Massachusetts, unable to even eat because his stomach was such a mess.
His will amazed Chelle.
The truck was huge, tall, shiny and black- larger than any "pick up" truck she'd ever seen. It was a monster, more than capable of hauling just a racecar trailer. It could certainly handle a larger one.
This time, Dennis was taking someone with him to the track- a nice, young guy named Ed who was really into racing and also a mechanic. To Dennis, it was the best of both worlds. Chelle felt better knowing Dennis wouldn't be going it alone...again. She didn't know how much more his back could take. Ed seemed to be a great kid, somewhere in his twenties she guessed, with a passion for cars, racing and speed. Dennis would be a fantastic mentor for him, too. Back in his younger days he pulled wrenches for a living and was known as one of the best mechanics around. Although he'd long since sold his garage, he still worked on his own cars and just about anything else that required fixing.
Nothing, not even a back filled with cortisone injections, would stop Dennis from reaching for his goals. Nobody, either.
As the truck pulled out of the driveway at 7:03 am, Chelle watched it move slowly around the bend in front of their house. As it pulled out of sight, she asked God to keep them both safe.
Ellen DuBois is the author of I Never Held You: Miscarriage, Grief, Healing and Recovery and Host of MiscarriageHelp.com. She's been published by Blue Mountain Arts, and is a contributing author to several books including: Soul Matters for Teens, Sisters, (Blue Mountain Arts gift book), Conquering Panic and Anxiety Disorders- Success Stories, Strategies and other Good News, Romancing the Soul, More God Allows U-Turns. Additionally, she's known as "Miss Ellen"- a piano teacher to students from 5 to tween and beyond-
and loves it.
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