When you were little, four or five, I worked up the Feather River canyon when they were building the power houses. Every morning I'd get up early and leave, and your mom would cook breakfast and pack my lunch. Remember my lunch box, the black one with the brass rod that slips through the eyes to lock it shut, the one where the Thermos fits into the top part? We still got it in the shop? Imagine that . . . it's over fifty years old!
So I'd go to work every day, that long drive, eat my lunch at break time. It was hard work. For a while I drove the explosives truck, delivering the powder to the power house and road and tunnel sites. Your grandpa talked me into getting another job, though, one less dangerous. I drove a "Uke" for a long time, a great big dump truck, it was.
And then I'd come home and there you were at the door, waiting for your dad. You'd put on my hard hard and take my lunch box, every day. That hard hat would fit down almost to your shoulders, it seemed, but you'd tip it back and sit on the floor, slide out that brass locking rod, open the lunch box, sort through the wax paper, and find a cookie. Then you'd grin up at me and bite into that cookie.
I'll tell ya, no matter how hungry I was at lunchtime, I'd never eat that cookie, no matter what. Once was enough to come home and see you rip open that lunchbox and not find that cookie. The look on your face!
No matter how hungry I was, I'd leave that cookie for you. It wasn't the only thing I came home for, but it sure as hell was one of 'em. Seeing you eating that cookie just brings back the memories.
Copyright 2014 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved