Driven by Love
The conversation slid on to the San Diego Zoo as Mom and Dad both described the animals they had seen to the girls. After we drank our coffee and examined all our souvenirs, the girls were starting to fall asleep. Hugs all around and we packed up and headed home.
That night, lying in bed, I was thinking about Mom’s comments.
“Didn’t you think it was strange that Mom said Dad got lost,” I said to Sandy. “You know as well as I do that he could tell you where every curve and hill was on a road he’d only traveled once. I know we’ve been working hard, but how could I have missed something this big?”
“Maybe it’s only showed up now that he’s finally slowed down. You know what it’s like, when you don’t have to remember anymore, you don’t,” said Sandy.
“Well maybe, but it’s pretty weird. He certainly seemed defensive about it. I think next time we’re over I’ll take Mom aside and find out what the deal is. In the meantime, back to work tomorrow. Goodnight, my love.”
The next morning as I made my deliveries, I thought about Dad and the life he had given me. Dad was a trucker and, thanks to him, so am I. He stepped into his first truck at 16 and has been worshiping them ever since. As soon as I could walk, I spent every summer traveling with him.
At lunchtime I pulled into the Safeway parking lot and backed onto the dock to unload. They said it would take about an hour, so I planned to use the time to eat my lunch and get caught up on my paperwork. As I sat in the driver’s seat, the passenger door opened and my mother jumped in.
“Mind if I join you for lunch?” she asked with a smile. She was holding steaming soup and fresh-baked buns.
“Mom, you can join me for lunch even without the bribes, but they are graciously accepted. I’m glad you stopped by. I was telling Sandy last night, I wanted to get you alone to find out what’s happening with Dad. You are back kind of early. Is everything really OK?”
“Remember how Dad used to work for that small cartage company when you were little? He’d deliver freight to all the little towns and take you with him.” she started.
“That brings back memories, I still remember his routine. Walk around the truck, check over everything, start the engine, grab the hammer and pound the tires. I still do the exact same thing. Can’t break the habit,” I said with a chuckle. “Of course,” I said, flexing my arms, “I never built up the kind of muscles he did. I never had to use armstrong steering.”
“He always dreamed of the open road, but he always said there would be time when you had grown up,” Mom reminisced. “I remember I was so surprised when he finally decided to do it. You had decided you were going to work at the hardware store and go to college. I thought he had actually forgotten about his dreams. It was very exciting for him to find his first job. Do you remember? He started with Jim running just to the province.”
“I remember. He missed a lot of birthdays after that but he seemed very content. I know that in those years I was pretty self-absorbed. You went back to work at the high school after upgrading your teaching certificate and I took over as manager at the hardware store after I graduated. I remember those years as us all living our separate lives. Most importantly, though, I do remember the day I went to him and said I was fed up with working inside, and I wanted to become a truck driver.”