* First of all, thanks to the many of you who have offered condolences after the loss of my dad. Even though I have never met any of you face to face, I feel as if we are friends through the many posts I’ve read. For the next few weeks, I will be posting once a week until I can get back up to speed. As always, thanks for reading.
“I remember the time I caught Dad’s truck,” Dereck said in way of introducing a memory. A small group of us sat together, thinking about my dad and his life. My brother had the floor, and we all listened as he began the tale.
“I was ten and quite the digger. I had a fascination with holes, and I had myself a hideout in the ground.”
“I thought you weren’t so fond of tunneling,” I countered. “What about all those ditches Dad had you dig?”
“No, that was later, when I was a teenager, and much of the joy of digging had been lost by then. But this was when I was a kid. And I had dug a beauty of a hole. It was deep enough for me to stand up in and wide enough that I used a sheet of tin to cover the top. It was the best hideout a boy could have, and it was a total secret. Even from Dad. Well, one day the pigs got out.”
Mom and I groaned because we remembered too well the many occasions of chasing pigs around the yard, around the house, around the pasture . . . Whoever created the game Angry Birds was obviously the child of a pig farmer with flimsy pens.
“So Dad thought he’d save some time by herding the pigs with the truck. I was inside the house, but the next thing I knew, he came through the door like a bull. He stood there with his hands on his hips yelling, ‘I want you to come look at this!’ He stormed back out, slamming the door so hard he nearly took the hinges off. I walked outside and there was the Chevy, with its tail end sticking straight up in the air, wheels totally off the ground. The front end was completely buried in my hideout. It was Cadillac Ranch all the way.”
We all started laughing. “How did he get out? If the engine was in the ground, how did he get the door open?” I’d never heard this story before, and I certainly didn’t remember it. If Dereck had been 10, then I would have been lying in a bassinet somewhere trying to get a handle on my burping skills.
“No idea. The first I saw of him was when he charged through the door.”
“How’d you get the truck out?” Jerry asked. “Rear wheel drive isn’t much good when the tires don’t touch the ground.”
“We had to call Gaines. He had that hoss of a tractor, and even then it took two days. No telling what people driving by on the highway thought, seeing that rear axle in the air.”
“Sinkhole,” Mom offered. Which is the standard Floridian response to any unexplained ground phenomenon.
I could close my eyes and watch the scene play out: the pigs, the old Chevy, the color of Dad’s face when he came through that door . . . Every nuance rang true. And if you’re going to remember someone, that’s the way it has to be.
© 2013 – Traci Carver