While driving home from a business trip with Mr. Cozi, we stopped at a traffic light behind this truck. It immediately took me back to the spring and summers of 1973-4. Imagining the feel of the raised letters on the tailgate of a Reading utility truck had me re-living Saturday afternoons with my dad. I can’t describe adequately, the warmth that filled my soul just from staring at the backend of this truck.
From a young age I was very aware of the value of a dollar and was constantly looking for ways to earn a little extra money. I’d cut grass for my dad, clean my next-door-neighbor’s house, babysit and even tried a lemonade stand. Knowing this, my dad found us a job washing utility trucks on Saturdays. While I don’t remember how many trucks we washed each Saturday, I do remember that we got paid $6/truck. When I think back now to the amount of money I would take home on those Saturdays, I’m pretty sure that Daddy gave me most of the earnings.
As the chief of police and a volunteer firemen in our small town, Daddy was on call 24/7, so daddy/daughter time was precious. The purpose then was to earn a little money, teach me responsibility, and wash a few trucks. While I’m sure that I didn’t fully appreciated the amount of money Daddy contributed to my piggy bank back then; I do know without a doubt, that there is no dollar value that equals the time I spent scrubbing wheels and hearing his stories. We would get tickled about some story and his laugh would infect the day. When he laughs hard, he coughs and soon we would be laughing more at his laugh than the story. I would dread the minute our giggle boxes would be turned right-side up again.
Plunging my hands into cold, soapy water and sponging the dirt off of those letters was fun – even if I dreamt of R E A D I N G trucks throughout my high school years. The day the cobwebs were rinsed from my memory while staring at the back of that truck, time was erased, too. For just a minute, I was a skinny girl in shorts and a t-shirt, soaked with my daddy’s laughter.
Isn’t it precious how such simple things, like stopping at a traffic light, can warm your heart and cause chuckles to bubble up from the depths of your soul? Since the summer is when my happiest memories surface, I assume some of you experience the same triggers. This is just one of many. The blaring shrill of a whistle reminds me of our city swimming pool, bags of ice cause me to salivate over homemade ice cream, and the smell of sulphur reminds me of sparklers on the Fourth of July. Do you have a particular summer memory that lights up your soul?