A Vehicle

B saw his old truck today. In a blur past the bank. He didn't want to lose sight of her, the truck.

It's a she in my head, a maroon red 1995 Toyota Forerunner LTD, SHE.

A blur from the past, he felt a ping and a panic, described feeling like he'd seen a ghost.  He chased after and found her.  Resting in the parking lot at the burger place, waiting for her owner who isn't us to come back out.

Yup. The same truck. The odd little identifiers like that back bumper cord thing and the roof rack essentially the equivalents of tattoos or birthmarks that meant, ya, ya, I'm your old truck, I'm the one. The "Before Kids" Sports Utility Vehicle.

He took a picture of her sitting there. I imagine they had a conversation.

"Hey, hey, I'm didn't desert you! I had to!" "You see, the kids...we have kids now...and you kept needing work and it didn't make sense. No air bags..."

I remember the afternoon we picked up her up from the car lot together in Phoenix.  It was the good kind of a warm day for Arizona, a Saturday afternoon and we were giggly about the beige leather seats and the sun roof. And the stereo which made U2 and DMB and Sting sound really good when cranked loud, his right hand and my left always squeezed tight, as we put on the miles and headed out on different adventure each Saturday. A different destination every Sunday. And so many Happy Hours in between.

And so there it was, a 4W Drive time capsule of another place and another time and different lives in a parking lot at the burger place a mile-and-a-half away.

I wish I could track her back down. I wish I could pull a miracle and get the keys and bring her back to him and to us.  Really, I rarely drove her so she might be skeptical. But I get it. She wasn't just an automobile like the Blazer, the Tercel, the Saab, the Highlander, the Matrix or the eight passenger mini-van sitting in the garage. She wasn't just transporting us to the grocery store or work or T ball games. She literally took us to the tops of mountains, to the ocean, to the hub of a monsoon thunderstorm in the desert.  She will be forever be associated with the young us, the best of us, of him and me. US. Everyone has those times, those memories. Wouldn't it be nice to take them for a drive once a week?

Close your eyes, okay? (I'm pretending.)
Here, here, I got her back.
Happy Anniversary. Happy Father's Day. Let's go for a ride. Let's go catch a thunderstorm.

Our Summer List

Catch fireflies.
Tally rainbows.
Make ice cream.
Ride a horse, whenever possible.
Pick strawberries.
Ride our bikes.
Playdates with school friends.
Playdates with mommy and daddy's friends.
Camp in the backyard at the cottage. For practice. 
Sand dunes.
Sand castles.
Make time for dates. Cheap ones.
Free ones.
Sit under the moon. 
Ride a boat.
Fall asleep in the sun.
With sunscreen on.
Put the cell phones away.
Walk through a cornfield.
Don't go too far.
Go to the Zoo.
A lot.
Hike new trails.
Make new trails.
And a fort.
Catch a frog or a turtle.
Visit for a short while.
Three! Birthday cakes!
Friday night family walks to the playground.
Star gaze.
Saturday morning Farmer's Market breakfasts.
Learn to swim. Once and for all.
That means you.
Backyard bonfire in the City, once a month.
Bonfire at the cottage, every night.
Homemade pizza with our own basil and tomatoes.
Host a Lemonade Stand.
Star gaze.
Visit The Farm.
Pretend we live there. 
Cheeseburgers at PC Junction afterwards.*
(*Paid for by the Lemonade Stand.)
Hunt for driftwood. 
Craft Projects twice monthly. 
Get messy.
Star gaze. Some more.
Go to the State Fair.
Send Zoe off to sea.
Promise to throw her a stick any time we find ourselves at the water's edge.
Star gaze again.
Remind ourselves that summer won't last forever.
Find more heart shaped rocks. 

The Hop Scotch Artist

On Saturday morning, I went running. No planning goes into my runs. If get my eyesight in and my running shoes on and my body out the door my darlings,  that is significant.

So, at the bottom of the driveway, I went right that morning instead of the habit of left.

The on-the-fly decisions came up at the end of every block. Okay, up here and then I'll hang a right down there and  then left up the hill, internal point of my finger down to Glenwood Avenue. And then, I'll circle back home.

I was running up that here. I crested the hill and smiled. A little hop scotch floor plan drawn on the very edge of this quiet, seldom car driven stretch of road. Yellow chalk.

Ten feet, twenty, it kept going. And going. Half a mile later, still that hop scotch trail mixed in with the sweet smell of the first early summer clover and the perfect breeze. Nearing the intersection, numbers made an appearance in each square: 175. 148. 103. 71. 64. 32. 29. 14 counting me to 1.

Thank you, nameless Hop Scotch Artists.  You made me smile during a run and that is almost nearly impossible and very, very rare.  I can hear you in my head, showing your parents, "It's so long, you wanna see it?" Giggling. That night, I bet your little backs were achy, muscles stretched and tight, the tips of your fingers scraped, yellow chalk underneath your nails.

I want to go back quite badly before some rain shower takes your masterpiece away. Under the moon, tonight, with a rock to toss.  

Reset Button.

Some people talk about what kind of car they'd buy if they won the lottery.

I am more likely to talk up what kind of bathtub I might get.