Reminiscing A Dump...Truck
April 4, 2013
Spring has sprung! Or is at least in the process of springing. That is to say it would be sprung, were it not being constantly b****slapped back into submission by the remaining tendrils of winter. Cold winds robbing the crisp sunny days of their warmth. Frost ebbing in the twilight, making the mornings bitter cold. Silencing the robins’ song as they huddle in nests awaiting the dawn. “Not just yet!” wails old man Winter, “I’ve yet to be done!” And yet Spring presses onward and upward, renewing the land with new growth, with new life. Yes, spring time is when the world is born anew and begins a fresh start. It is also a time of memory.
Though many new flowers, plants, bushes and shrubs will be planted the old ones are still there. Perennial bulbs which have lain dormant for two seasons will push back up through fresh soil to live again. The bare limbs of tree and bush will burst into their new foliage and the grass will shed its brown shroud and soon be in need of mowing...again and again. Yet through nature’s yearly rebirthing rituals and plethora of reminiscences, recollection of other things surface as well. Thoughts of the past lay in wait amongst the budding blossoms.
Rusted and resilient it holds its place as guardian of this small box of dirt. Its yellow paint chipped and faded; yet still it has a presence all its own. Decoration or chosen residency cannot be determined, (for no one can recall how it ended up there in the first place). There, in the middle of the flower bed, amongst the brilliant buttercups and climbing ivy, the faded shell of the Tonka Dump Truck, loaded with memories.
Sixteen years ago a chilly pre-spring morning found me riding shotgun in my father’s Ford F150. Still living at home I was working at the same place as my dad so we made the morning commute together...the old man liked to arrive early so cold and dark were the norm. On this particular morn we were tooling along through one of those “no man’s land“ areas when Pop jammed the brakes throwing me into the dash. I had been resting my eyes. “Get out and get it!” he bellowed in an almost desperate urgency. So urgent in fact that I quickly clambered onto the highway, before asking what I was getting out to get.
Did I mention it was cold and dark? Well it was and I couldn’t see s*** let alone anything to “get”! Then the lights of oncoming cars lit up the road and there it sat. Defiantly straddling the double yellow line, illuminated like a showroom piece in the double set of halogens. It was surreal and borderline majestic...in moments it would be road kill. Unless some idiot raced into traffic to save it...that would be me.
Leaping in front of one vehicle I snagged the truck and found my self in the other lane with another bearing down on me. A crazy backwards hop scotch with a twist took me back to the other lane and another car...I dove for the shoulder and then raced back to the relative safety of the F150’s cab. Later it occurred to me that I had raced into traffic, risked my life, to rescue a Tonka Toy. However, in that moment as I set the truck in the floorboard I caught a glimpse of my father’s face as the dome light dimmed out. There was amusement there, mixed with a little concern, but there was also a look of pride.
For the next several years the Tonka was one of my daughter’s favorite outdoor toys. She hauled rocks, dirt, dolls and kittens, even named one after it (no not Tonka; she called the cat “DumpTruck”). She pushed it, pulled it and rode in the dump-bed while backpedaling. When we moved to our own house the dump truck came with us (the toy not the cat- he was hit by a car). Then it disappeared. Whether buried in the then cluttered garage, lost in the recesses of the attic or hiding in the bowels of the basement it cannot be said. It simply went unseen for the next six years.
Then one spring day it turned up in the back flowerbed. I was going to move it. Clean it up, take it back inside; maybe even refurbish and repaint it, but then I didn’t. How it had ended up there was beyond my knowledge but it seemed to belong there...like it wanted to be there. I find it best to not argue with the will of inanimate objects so I left it. Rust in peace my friend and thanks for the memories.
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