I’d delivered in Fremont, just south of San Francisco, the night before. That’s when the bad rain started. It was depressing. I was almost to Sacramento for my pick-up that would take me by the house for a couple days. I was looking forward to the time off.
As I drove down the road, I remembered what my granddad had told me: “Look at the world through the eyes of a child if you can, and if you still can’t see the colors of the rainbow, pretend.”
Granddad was always philosophical, so I conjured up his spirit, sat him in the passenger seat and pretended.
Granddad looked at me; he listened to the rain coming down ever harder on the roof of the truck. “Darn peskins,” he said.
“Yes, peskins – tiny creatures, related to the gremlins, but peskins are just that, a pest. Listen – there must be a thousand or more on the roof with their tiny little hammers, making as much noise as they can, making a pest of themselves. They seem to have a boundless amount of energy.”
I nodded in agreement.
“You don’t believe in them, do you?” he said.
“I might if I could see one.”
“That’s your problem – you’ve lost the magic. Look at those people in their cars, driving through traffic like there is no tomorrow. When I first came to California in the ’60s, people wore flowers in their hair. They weren’t in any hurry to go anywhere. When it rained, they would be outdoors with their heads tilted back, mouths open, catching raindrops.”
“Well, we won’t discuss why they had flowers in their hair and were standing outside catching raindrops in their mouths.”
He ignored me. “Do you know where you are going?” he asked.
“I do. We are picking up a load of soup, a dry load going to Omaha. If we can get loaded this afternoon and get over Donner Pass, we should be in great shape. If it’s raining here, it’s snowing there.”
“Well, that sounds kind of negative. Snow is a beautiful thing. Of course, you know that at the heart of a snowflake is a dust particle, and then the ice crystals form on it. Did I ever tell you that I had sketched every known possible snowflake there was up until the winter of ’88? Then it snowed that winter – it snowed a lot, which devastated me.” He paused. “But it never took away my love for the snow.”
“Well, I used to love snow.”
“You will again,” he said.
I didn’t answer. I was busy looking for my exit.
Granddad kept quiet for the moment. I found my exit, took it and was at the front gate for my pick-up in about five minutes.
“Adam and Ellen work in the guard shack,” Granddad said. “Say hi to them for me.”
I walked over to the guard shack. The guard was writing down the numbers off of my truck and trailer.
“Lovely day, isn’t it?” I said with sarcasm.
He looked up from his clipboard, smiled. “Why, yes it is. Should be out there collecting raindrops in my mouth like I did when I was a kid.”
His name tag said he was Adam.
I gave him my pickup number and signed in.
“Well, your pickup number is good. We have your product, but we’re running behind in loading trucks today. It looks like it will be a good two to three hours before we get you loaded.”
He could see the disappointment in my face. He looked at my name. “Charlie wouldn’t be your granddad, would he?”
“Yes he is. He said to say hi to you. He retired last June.”
Adam looked over at my truck. “Is he with you?”
“He is, well