Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Love this Life

I always laugh when I hear LoCash sing "I Love this Life" because it makes me think of that time John Wells and I were driving the backroads in Rusty Bouldrey's little truck. I don't remember what we were really doing or why we were on that road by my Grandma's house but they were probably giving me a ride home after band practice.

Rusty was driving -- it WAS his truck -- and we were flying a bit down that gravel road. We'd just passed the house where my cousin Lori used to live, just up from Grandma's house. Rusty hit the railroad tracks and it felt like we were going to touch Jesus.

We landed with a thud and all four tires - and probably the rims that held them - immediately went flat. I think of that moment in time every time I hear the opening notes of "I Love this Life," because it contains this lyric: "I love driving my truck across the railroad tracks. If you hit it too quick, it'll hit ya right back."

Ali and I drove down home this weekend for Easter with my family. (Jeff was off with Duane sampling whiskey.) On the way to Donna's, I detoured to show Ali where those fabled railroad tracks and to tell her that story. Again.

We were driving the Outback rather than my Mustang. I was going to re-enact the jump over the tracks but in the past gazillion years since the incident, there's been another railroad track laid right behind it.  I didn't think we could get the appropriate lift.

That and the Outback is Jeff's car and if I blew all four tires, I'd be fighting back tears, afraid to confess, just like Rusty was back when he was afraid to face his parents.

It's fun (for me, anyway) to wander around home pointing out this and that to Ali. It's amazing how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

But the best was yet to come on this weekend's trip. A while back, I'd helped my nephew Jason get a little attention for his amazing invention. The effort helped him a little and gave me a great opportunity to showcase the project in my quest to earn accreditation in my profession -- something my former boss had encouraged me to do.

You may recall that Jason conceived, designed, created and patented the JB1 Emergency Evacuation Slide, a contraption that is going to save some lives one day. He won a global Peabody Energy innovation award for it. He's the real deal.

Truth be told, it was an honor for me to be involved with the project. Jason's amazing but given the chance, he'll hide his many talents rather than show them off. He's probably more like my dad than any of us.

Showing off his talent is where I come in. At some point, he and my sister Debbie conspired to make me something to mark the occasion of our collaboration.

They started with an old washtub, salvaged from my family home, cleaned it up, polished it and incorporated some old family photos on the outside. It's special for a lot of reasons. Primarily because Jason knows how much it means to me to things from the old homestead. Adding the photos -- which came from a collection of old photos I'd shared with him one Christmas -- makes it extra special. And the fact that Deb and Jason worked together just to make me something like that ...

Well it's just amazing. Kind of like being gobsmacked by that railroad track -- but in a nicer, more sentimental way.

For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of country folk, this wash tub was likely used to boil water for hand-washing clothes.  (Debbie had to tell me.) Today, it could be used as a tub for beverages or decor as pictured above or just about anything. Jeff thinks it'll be good for fireplace wood during the winter.

Jason suggested it could go outside but I don't want to risk damaging it. He's sealed it, but I'm still not going to risk it.

So it was a fabulous trip home. Everyone was there, we swapped old stories and learned some more and I left with more than a bit of home. 

Oh!  And after studying for months, stressing out about the centuries since I took a test like this, I passed it on Friday. So the crucial elements have been accomplished. Cross your fingers that whatever is next is ceremonial.

I'm going to need a week off to re-charge from all of the APR stuff. And, as fate (and help from the Reed family) would have it, starts in earnest tomorrow. I'll send photos from the beach.

Jeff was in charge of hiding a few plastic eggs for Alison's annual Easter Egg Hunt. She's still at it and he's taunting her because he went the extra mile to make it hard. I put them together, along with little snips that offer up prizes like "Dad does trash this week."  I don't think he was clever enough to read and replace the prizes.

She's down to two now and she's on the edge of cursing. They're getting increasingly louder as he follows her around telling her she's hot or cold. The last one was tucked under the top of the dining room table. I think he had more fun with it than she did. 

Anyway, we're about to be all Eastered out here at Chez Reed and Jeff and I need to pack. (Ali has been packed for three weeks.)  I hope your Spring is as pretty as ours. Shots from the yard:

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