Friday, August 28, 2015
Today I am grateful for big diggers. I guess I must have a lot of the “Willie” gene in me. My dad loved anything with wheels and an engine, but he was crazy nuts about construction vehicles. I would have never learned to drive without them.
When I was 16 there was a new highway being built in my hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. My dad was the self-appointed sidewalk supervisor. But he hated to admit to my mom how much he loved hanging around the construction site. She would have found something “useful” for him to do for sure. So he’d say, “June, I’m gonna take the kid driving.”
I’m the kid. I’d get behind the wheel, start ‘er up and head down the street in the opposite direction of the construction site. He’d fidget and give some advice and occasionally hit the non-existent passenger-side brake. Then he’d start giving directions. “Turn left at the next corner.” I would. “Go up there, over by that light and then turn right.” I would. “Okay, keep going straight until I tell you to turn.” We’d dead end on the barricaded dirt mess that was construction for the new highway. And that’s where we spent the remainder of our “driving” time. Watching the big diggers. For hours.
I’ve driven a billion different kinds of vehicles, including the car in Jakarta with the stick shift on the left (wrong) side; a bunch of moving trucks (not vans-trucks) all across the US and Mexico; mopeds and little motorcycles; go-carts and bumper cars; more riding lawnmowers (usually over a hammer someone left in the lawn) than I care to remember; speed boats and pontoons; every type of car; and a bunch of tractors.
But I can’t go past a little bobcat, a steam roller, a backhoe, or an earth mover without dreaming of one day operating one. They are at the top of my bucket list. . .for me and my dad.