Miracles

A construction truck loaded with gravel, piloted by Fred, with Al riding shotgun, growled around two uphill “S” curves that led into suburban Prestwick Hills.

“Remember the first time you tried skipping stones?” Al said out of the blue.

“What brought this on?” Fred, answered his question with a question.

It would be a good day if civilians stayed out of their way.  That was the only thing civilians were good for–getting in the way.  That and not being very smart.

Civilians were surprised when items were stolen from their unlocked cars.

They planted trees, shrubbery in utility right-of-ways.

They were surprised when unleashed pets disappeared from unfenced backyards.

Old retired people and young kids hung around—asked too many questions.

Highly polished, telescopic, hydraulic cylinders raised the truck’s dump bed.  Fred advanced the truck slowly to spread the gravel.  A skip loader redistributed the rest.  The dump bed lowered with a hiss, and thump.

Fred and Al caught up paperwork under a nearby maple tree, followed by a short break.

Boom!! Chunks of dirt flew, sparks and acrid black smoke ran along a nearby chain link fence.  Decorative fence caps launched into the air.  The old man gawking from Lot #17, looked a little sheepish.

Locating buried utility lines wasn’t an exact science.  The bulldozer operator severed a buried electric feeder cable.  Visibly shaken, but unharmed, he stayed with his machine, until the power company arrived on scene.

If any work got done after this, it would be a miracle.  Small miracles happened every day.

 

Across Thy Prairies Verdant Growing…

Clear-channel 50,000 watts of all-night radio, broadcasted across the vast Midwestern prairie and beyond.

John McCormick, “the man who walked and talked at midnight,” was there for our listening pleasure; with the best music and conversation to keep us company.

McCormick had a deep-timbered voice, that either soothed, or lulled listeners to sleep.  That was his job, I supposed.  I would have preferred raspy-voiced Wolfman Jack.

“We’re gonna’ play more music for you–all night long!  Can you dig It?”  Interspersed with a few Wolfman howls and I’d stay wide-awake.  Dad wouldn’t dig any of it.

My job was to assist with loading and deliveries.  More importantly, to keep my father awake on his all-night delivery route through four Illinois counties.

It seemed odd to me then, dad being such a firm disciplinarian, to see him kibitzing with  guys at the full-service, Standard Oil station, on a busy corner in Springfield, Illinois.  He was obviously a regular visitor.  It was around eleven, the station brightly wrapped in neon–topped with trademarked red torch.

An experience, not unlike seeing one of your teachers, away from school.  Refueled, candy bars and coffees in hand, off to the second, and most important stop.

The blue and white Chevrolet, faithful beast of burden, loaded past midnight; after the State-Journal Register’s press run.  There’d been a delay–probably a late-breaking story that couldn’t be left out.

Worried my father would fall asleep at the wheel, thus killing us both in a tragic accident, I kept talking.  Awkward talking–so awkward, it was more like an interview than normal father-son conversation.

“How many miles does this truck have on it?”  I asked.  “It’s got 127,000 miles right now,” Dad answered.

“That’s an awful lot of miles.”  I surmised.  “It’s all highway miles,” Dad answered.  “That makes a difference.  This route covers 200 miles per night–give or take.”

“What were the worst weather conditions you’ve encountered?”  I asked–not in exactly those words.

“Ice and snow–I’ve had to drop off on the shoulder to gain adequate traction.  There was more traction on the grass and gravel, than on the road; but, I made it home safely.  It was almost noon–barely time for a nap before starting out again.”

The next question was risky, but I went for it, anyway.  “What were some of your biggest boneheaded mistakes?”

“I missed some stops and had to go back.  Then, one night I accidently threw a delivery right through an unopened screen door.”

Route 66, blue highways, towns that railroads, interstates forgot, passed by all night long.

That night may have been the source of dad’s war story about a ride to Chicago, cruising at 80 mph on Rt. 66, in a Chrysler Airflow–after hitching a ride.  That struck me as daring–even though it happened before I was born.

Winter sun rose as we arrived home, just in time for a bite of breakfast, light conversation with mom, then straight to bed.  It had been a good night, we’d arrived well before noon.

 

Image, Standard Oil Indiana, from blogsite: PleasantFamilyShopping–

 

 

 

There’s a Lot At Snake* #puns #snakes #spring

*I would like to apologize for the terrible pun in the title of this post.  This fails to meet standards upheld by this blog up to now.  However, it was better than United Snakes of America.

So much different from the night before, when intense rain fell faster than the runoff could drain away.  The stars came out.  It’s pleasant and cool.

Snakes have their place in the biosphere and I have no objections to that.  Soon the nighttime temperature will be consistent.  That’s when snakes migrate to summer territories.

It’s a challenge to see them first–especially the six poisonous species that populate this area.  There’s a reason for the name Moccasin Bayou.

 

 

It’s Alive, It’s Alive–Or Is It?

It’s early Saturday morning.  Early to bed, early to rise–except I’m feeling more dead than alive.  Two cups of coffee and the mental lethargy has yet to clear.  What’s leftover from yesterday?  …A sketchy word comedy about an unsuccessful sad sack scientist.

Spiced up leftovers can be enjoyable.  My flooded backyard is left from last night’s rainstorm–that’s negative, not so nice.  Spring break is over–also negative.

Puns can be fun.  Fun to an impenetrable mind like mine.  How about April Rules Day–the day after April Fool’s.  For those that grew up in the eighties and later–Mean Teen Ninja Hurdles.  That’s enough puns for a Saturday morning.

“Warmed Over Kisses and Leftover Love,”  I always liked that song.

 

–image, http://www.pinterest.com/