“Running Bear” | An Addition to Our Family

Today’s post is from my husband, Michael. The Dean Family has adopted a proud new member! Michael’s dream truck (1974 F350) came on the market and after we heard the back story–we knew it was meant to be. It’s loud, hard to park, & gas guzzling–everything an old truck should be. But it gives us occasion to go to see a drive-in movie & get lots of “cool truck” honks or waves. It really is glorious.

I have wanted a truck–this truck–ever since I can remember. Ruthie and I call our new addition, “Running Bear”, because there is a back story that speaks to redemption.

My 1974 F-350 Super Camper Special was originally bought by Running Bear Trailers to haul their custom-made trailers. Its tailgate was ditched because it was not needed, and it was put straight to work. Quickly Running Bear Trailers ran into hard times. Apparently they could not financially stay in the black so they decided that it would be wise to set fire to their establishment and claim the insurance money. Finally after being run out-of-town for dishonesty, Running Bear Trailers relocated to Memphis and sold the F-350.  After trading hands a couple of times, it ended up at the local high-school. The high-school used it for a number years to haul tackling dummies and water for the football team.

Image of 1974 F-350

In 1997 Anthony Miller was a starting linebacker, he and the other members of the Westview Chargers affectionately called the truck Running Bear because of the decals that still remained on the old vehicle. Over the years Ol’ Running Bear began to show his age and the lack of care. Finally in 2005 he came to a resting place in a field behind the high school. There he sat for 6 years in the heat, cold, rain, and snow. Some kids spray tagged him with spray paint and he was used as an impromptu trash can as kids would throw garbage in the back. Anthony happened upon the old truck again while visiting the school one afternoon, he remembered the rides out to the field in the back of Running Bear and wondered if he could restore the old dilapidated truck. By this time he was a family with two kids, a boy and a girl. He worked in a local hot rod shop and restored old trucks on the side. After buying Running Bear and taking him home Anthony spent the next 7 months working on hard on him to try to get him in running order and back to his original glory. After countless hours of work, running into snags, breaking down, and rebuilding, Running Bear was roaring again and ready for whatever might be thrown his way.

I asked Anthony to tell me this story as many times as possible and I tell it as often as I can. I love the story, it resonates with something deep inside me that I believe has been planted by God. It strikes a chord of redemption, of something that was lost and now found, the lost sheep that the shepherd went to find leaving the ninety nine behind. It reminds me that God will never let me go by the wayside. Running Bear had no say in what happened to him. Because of the bad decisions of the company that he belonged to he ended up broken down in a field instead of being cared for. He was innocent and yet still suffered the pain and consequences of sin.

God is in the business of redemption and the story of how Running Bear was restored to “better-than-before” screams of God’s desire to do the same for us. He takes his time, often much longer than seven months, he sands us, pulls out the dints, buffs us, rebuilds us and fits us with his righteousness so that we are no longer anyone’s but His.

Michael and Running Bear can be found cruisin’ the streets of Nashville and on occasion with their favorite blogger at the drive-in movie. Joy! 

Image of Old Ford truck

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4 Responses to ““Running Bear” | An Addition to Our Family”
  1. Edward Lin says:

    I think I saw one of these trucks (at least one that looks exactly the same) the other day on my way home from work and caught myself wondering if you two were in town for a visit. Alas, it was not Michael behind the steering wheel.

  2. April says:

    What a great story! I love things with a rich history!! One of my weaknesses is collecting old children’s books… because I love to think about the places they’ve been… and the children who have held them… and the imaginations that have been set loose by their stories.

    I literally just moved to Nashville (this week!) and am excited to see that you are here as well (I came across this blog a couple of months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed reading!!). Perhaps I’ll see the three of you out on the road around town.

    P.S. Is this drive-in movie location of which you speak close? I LOVE to go to the drive-in and was sad to leave the one in my hometown behind.

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  1. Ruthie Dean says:

    [...] ended the night with taking Runnin’ Bear out for a spin to pick up our wedding video and some ice cream. We finished the night off–like [...]



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