Live Each Day To The Fullest

The following is a guest post by David Turner. He emailed this amazing story to me after watching my latest video, Contemplating Contentedness. David's story touched me in many ways, so I asked if he would allow me to share it with my readers here on the blog.

"We have but limited time in this life and we need to do everything in our power to make the most of it." ~ Raam Dev

Ain't that the truth.

Made a few posts here and there about an RIP to a co-worker. But never really shared.

We had a 76 year old guy cleaning our cars at the dealership. He started about 11 years ago after 30+ years at the local foundry. He came to Indiana from West Virginia (from the hills). His dad worked in coal mines. Denver was unique. Had and kept his true hillbilly accent. "You gots sumthin I can tak this tar of with?" Now cleaning cars, one would think black tar... but he was of course talking about tires.

The guys back in the shop loved to tease him. And he gave it right back at them. He'd walk the dealership singing songs, not words but noises followed sometimes by a "yeah man, yeah buddy". Someone would say something interesting to him and he would make a lil hand gun out of his fingers and make the gunshot noise followed by "yeah" or "yep" or "you can say that again".

He was a true friend to everyone he met. Never met a stranger that didn't become his friend in seconds. Of course he didn't remember half their names, but the folks he befriended remembered him for life.

When the boss and the other salesman was gone, Denver would make his way to the front where my office was. We'd chat about this and that. He looked at my computer monitor once and commented on my background. A picture of Jesus holding a small child. He wanted a copy to hang in his workshop at home. A couple days later he mentioned he was having a hard time reading his Bible. Of course I told him maybe he should go back to school and learn to read. But I just happened to have a big print Bible at home that belonged to an old neighbor of mine growing up (the lady that owned my 66 Galaxie). I brought that in the next day and showed it to him. He liked it and wondered where he could git one. "It's yours". And a "gawwwd, really" came out of him. At the time, I didn't know he was attending a rural Church.

A month ago today, February 26, 2010, while cleaning a vehicle, our boss was chatting with him. He was cleaning a Honda Ridgeline. He had the tailgate open (like a door). Denver was standing on the side of the truck while Randy was near the back. "Denver, you're going to shut that tailgate and break the key off" as he bent down to remove the key and stood back up. "Denver, where the hell did you go?" He went to the side of the truck and there he was laying on the ground (9:00am). The guys from the shop came over to help revive him and the firetrucks, police and the EMS drove around to the back of the shop. I was still clueless to what was happening till I over heard a phone call to Denver's wife, telling her to meet Randy at the Hospital.

Within seconds I called our Church prayer chain and sat quietly as I prayed. That day was the longest day. Our boss made several trips to the hospital that morning and around lunch time they moved Denver to the another hospital in a nearby town. Around 12:30, Randy was headed there and Denver's wife called. Not with the greatest news. Denver was brain dead and had a living will made. Randy went down and saw Denver for the last time. His wife said the doctors said that he can hear you so if you want to tell him something you can. Randy felt uneasy about it wondering what to say, "Denver, I expect you to be at work on Monday. Now don't be late!"

At 5pm, the end of the work day, they let Denver sleep.

He always joked with the guys that he wanted to fall over while at work and die and he did. The Doctors say that his brain was dead before he hit the floor and there was nothing they could do for him.

One of Denver's chats, he wondered why I was working here, when I could go out and find a computer job. He also mentioned that the only reason he stayed working around this place was because I was working here. But yet I know how much he "loved" Randy. Randy and him would often go and get vehicles from auctions in Detroit and Indy. Always having a story when they got back. Denver would never say no to a task, but he could complain while doing it, yet he loved the task.

A few years back he was asked by the "preacher" at the Church he attended if he was ready to give his life to the Lord. He told the "preacher" he wasn't ready yet, but when he was he's gonna do it right. He finally did, then a year later during Church, the "preacher" asked the people to come up if they needed a prayer. Preacher saw Denver come up out of the corner of his eye. "What do you want to pray about?" Denver replied with no prayer, "I just wanted to come up year, today's my 1 year anniversary".

During the funeral, the Preacher told a story of Denver (told many stories) during a sermon, he told a story / joke. The people laughed and quieted down, but not Denver. Denver laughed and laughed and laughed so hard he almost fell out of the pew. That's our Denver - full of life.

Out of my 38 years of life, I can't think of one person that has touched my life as much as Denver has (except for family) and it's been one month since his passing of this life and I miss him dearly.

Work as not been the same. I miss my chats with him. The dealership is quieter without him. And thinking back to a reply as to why I work here and not finding a better job.... Denver was the reason.

Denver was 76 years young, could still kick himself in the butt, made many the men smile, gave his life to the Lord and the last month of his life became an usher at his Church. Denver made the most of his life.

What have I learned.... live life to the fullest from one day to the next because you just never know, one day you'll be here and the next

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    • That’s exactly how I felt, Bart. The story really made me appreciate life a little more and reminded me how we’re all ticking time clocks — our time could be up at any moment.

    • Thank you for the comment Bart.

      I wrote a similar (tho much shorter) email to myself at the time I found out that Denver wasn’t coming home. I also have the last photograph (blurry) of Denver on my phone. The email and photo along with some other photos taken over the years have been passed to his family.

      Also I found this song on youtube (after I wrote the email) quite comforting.

  1. Was thinking about Denver today while at work and thought it might be helpful to read this again. Just as I was getting ready to type in the domain, Denver’s wife and daughter stopped by the dealership with freshly made donuts 😀

    This week I was back in the area where he worked, as I swept out a computer; I kept looking and waiting for Denver to walk through one of the doors singing like he use to. Felt very strange being there. Hard to believe it’s been 7 months.

    • I feel the same way about my Grandfather; its been almost a year since he passed and it’s still hard to believe he is gone. My Grandmother still has a really hard time and she is noticeably sad every time I see her.


  • Aditi October 1, 2010