Rosemary's Blog


July 23rd & Drew’s 41 Dodge
July 23, 2009, 5:05 am
Filed under: Family and Friends

Dodge 1941 013July 2009 004July 23, 2009…seventeen years removed from July 23, 1992…as Luther just said, “God bless you Drew and Jeremiah!”  For the past two days we have been driving the 1941 Dodge that Drew and I drove back in 1974 when he was just a newborn.  Back then the Dodge was all black and looked quite different than it does today. 

This car is one of our favorite automobiles in our car collection.  Although many of them are more valuable, this car has the most intriguing history.  We are only the second owners of this 1941 Dodge that we have owned thirty-five years.  It was purchased in 1974 from one of our pharmacy customers in Clarksville, IN.  I drove the car on a daily basis.  I used the car to drop off Drew on my way to my pharmacy position at Super-X Drugs in Clarksville.

We moved from Indiana to our present home in Beattyville, KY in January of 1975 when Drew was nine months old.  The car was driven regularly for the next five or six years as our family grew to include our sons Jeremiah and Jordan.

Somewhere in the early 1980’s, we decided to restore the old Dodge.  We had a local restorer store the car until his schedule cleared enough for him to begin the project.  Days, months and then years went by with no progress on the car.  We actually forgot the car.  We were busy growing our pharmacy corporation and our three sons with little thought of ever getting the car restored. 

July 23, 1992 was a tragic day in our lives.  Our two oldest sons, Drew, then 18 and Jeremiah, 15, were killed that beautiful July morning in a single car accident.  The focus of our lives changed forever that day.  Surviving day to day, not restoring a 1941 Dodge became our way of life.

Sometime in early 1997, the man who had stored the Dodge for now over sixteen years came to talk to Luther.  He had a story to share about the forgotten car.  The car had been parked for years under a seventy-five foot tall sycamore tree.  It was rusting away so one day he decided to get it out of the weather by moving it into one of his garages.  That night, lightening struck the tree and it fell across where the car had been sitting.  It would have been destroyed.  

About six months later, a man came to buy parts that happened to be stored behind the old Dodge.  The Dodge was hauled out to again be out in the weather.  That night, lightening stuck the garage and it burned to the ground!  Well, this man decided that “this car is trying to tell us something” so he came to share his story.

Needless to say we rescued our Dodge after the two near misses and seventeen years.  We decided to do a frame-off restoration and make “Drew’s Dodge” into a custom rod.  Frank Craft from Hilton Head Island, SC, started the restoration in 2002.  The car was completed in 2006 just in time for the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance where the car won the Palmetto Award, “The Car You’d Most Like to Drive to a Car Show.”  We have a personalized license plate for the car that memorializes our son Drew.  The plate says DREW 41.  We know he and Jeremiah saved the car for us.  We have driven it with warm memories of them the past several days.  We weren’t even surprised when “Every Breath You Take” came on the Dodge’s radio only minutes after we decided to drive the car!! 

We love you Drew and Jeremiah.  We love you Jeremiah and Drew.  How can I put one in front of the other?  To me, they go together, not one before and one after.  We will celebrate their lives today by driving Drew’s 41.

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July 4th
July 4, 2009, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

Jeremiah'sHatPhoto

As I sit here alone on the morning of Jeremiah’s birth I am overcome with emotion. How I wish I had brought Jeremiah’s red Boogie hat with me to the beach. Wearing it somehow brings him closer. I’m afraid to take it anywhere for fear something will happen to it. It sits alone this morning in his room in Kentucky as I sit alone here at the beach.

Yesterday my dear friend Linda Harkness sent me this message, “I’m in the swing in FL @ the Harkness lake house – away from all so I can cry in peace. Nothing is ever the same anymore. Can’t help but think of Jeremiah too. Luvu.” She will never know what this remembrance meant to me. Later yesterday our doorbell rang and there stood a man delivering flowers. I didn’t even have to read the card to know that our wonderful friends Eleanor and Artie Foss had sent them for Jeremiah’s birthday.

Where would I be today without these friends who share this grief walk? Where would I be without employees like Carmen Cress who never forgets our daily struggles without Drew and Jeremiah? Where would I be without my girls at the office, Barb, Linda, Elizabeth and Mary Ann who support my work with other bereaved parents with joy and compassion?

As I am writing, precious Erin has come to tell me she is going to the beach. She and her husband Brian are with us this weekend. How we love them both! Brian has enveloped us as family since his marriage to Erin. He too has worked with our ministry by using his creative talents to develop a new identity for our documentary, Space Between Breaths. Their presence this weekend along with Jeremiah’s friend Hunter Montgomery and his family will make this a day of celebration.

Missing this weekend are Fong, Xinyu and Andy and Ashley. They are in Nashville but never far from my thoughts…where would Luther, Jordan and I be without them?



Thirty-Two
July 2, 2009, 3:43 am
Filed under: Family and Friends

Jeremiah Smith July 4, 1977

Our middle son, Jeremiah Cottle Smith, was born on July 4th, 1977. This Saturday would have been his thirty-second birthday. As my friend Cindy Bullens says, “He lived his whole life in fifteen years.” As I face another July 4th without him, my thoughts turn to the day he was born. Jeremiah was actually born three minutes before July 4th but our physician recorded his birth at 12:01 AM.

From early on, Luther and I knew that Jeremiah was an old soul. Even as a baby, he comforted us as we juggled working long hours with raising two young sons. Those blue eyes held a wisdom well beyond his years. Jeremiah was a people person. He was as comfortable with adults as he was his peers. How we miss he and his brother Drew. As we celebrate the 4th of July this Saturday, we will remember them.