A large truck idled noisily in front of our house early this morning, severely rattling the windows. Ellie bolted to the side gate for obligatory "I'll kill you" barking. I peeked out the window. It was some kind of huge, fancy dump truck, the load covered neatly by a tarp.
Have you ever waited impatiently in traffic as a semi-truck was backing its enormity into an impossibly narrow alley or business driveway? Not me. While everyone else is fidgeting at their steering wheels, I am admiring the amazing skill with which the truck driver can tease all that bulk precisely where it needs to go without any casualties. If only I could say the same for myself driving in reverse... This said, you may conclude I love to watch big trucks and tractors of all sizes at work. But today it is what was in the truck that caused reflection.
The brief and clamorous appearance of the dump truck was unexplained until we left the house to take Rachel to school. Deposited almost in the middle of the street directly at the end of our driveway was a truly wonderful pile of sand and gravel! The topography of it looks kind of like Camelback Mountain in reverse. If I wasn't afraid of the neighbor's wrath and my family's utter mortification, I'd be out there in a flash with a hose, a bucket and some classic kitchen accessories.
Oh, to play in a huge sand pile again ~ and the size of this one so worthy of a day devoted to twig-roofed kingdoms surrounded by rivers ferrying important leaf and bark cargoes far and wide. I could see my plastic horse collection pawing a sandy pasture or cantering riderless toward the shade of the pomegranate tree of my childhood back yard. I could almost feel my hand cup around the dimpled surface of the English walnuts we gathered to either insert into the castle walls, or pile like a munitions stash next to grossly under-sized green army men. Wild asparagus stalks offered perfectly sturdy 'poplar' trees, and dead june bugs sat as faithful wall sentries.
It didn't really matter that we carelessly integrated a "giant" 1960's era G.I. Joe with dwarf-like WWII infantry and pedigreed Appaloosas or Tennessee Walkers together in a 15th century fiefdom of glorious, endless sand. It didn't matter that every cat in the neighborhood was equally glad our Uncle Kenny had dumped literally a ton of sand in our back yard so we could spend an entire childhood in it as fantasy contractors. It was his business, sand and gravel - his big red truck a visual staple to our memory as much as the lovely sand that cascaded thunderously out to our screaming and jumping approval. Everything looks a little bigger and better when you are only 5 or 6 years old.
It makes me kind of sad that whatever the neighbor is doing with his fresh sand and gravel delivery, likely has something to do with his hot tub remodeling and nothing at all to do with little kids getting the surprise of their life.
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