Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Start of a Working Man's Day

Don slipped on his faded blue jean jacket but made no effort to button it. Then he fished his cap off the hook and slapped it on his head, adjusting it against the thick shock of white hair underneath. He made his way up from the cellar to the garage where Elmo stood waiting in the back of the truck. With clumsy, arthritic fingers, he pulled the pin and lowered the tailgate so the dog could jump down. Thrusting himself at Don, Elmo, whose body weight exceeded that of his master, got pushed back. Years of hard work had given Don muscles that even old age and a bum knee could not weaken. He cursed his knee—doctors swore the operation would help—but that just made it worse. Now it always ached like the dickens.

Don slid the can of dog food under the can opener, then turned the can upside down, shaking it until the meat plopped into the dog dish. After gobbling it down, Elmo sprang back into the truck and Don slid the bolt into place, securing the tailgate. Don limped over to the cab of his ’39 Ford pick-up and opened the door. Holding his bad leg straight, he inched his way sideways into the small cab.

The truck started up with its peculiar snorts and huffs. The garage door, itself old, rattled into motion. He grinned. These old things sure lasted. As they got moving, he glanced into the rearview mirror and saw how Elmo leaned into the wind, his black ears flapping behind. Don shook his head, amused. With a smile perched on his face, he thought, My pals’ll get a kick out of that. Life is good.

Together, they headed into town. At the stoplight, he honked, Aaoogahh. Nothing like an old horn! His tanned, leathery face broke into an easy grin, as he waved. Everyone knew Don and his little Ford pick-up.

At McDonald’s, Don parked the truck, looking forward to a chat with his car pals. Highlight of my day. He gave the door a good slam to ensure it closed. Out of the corner of his eye, he observed a scowling woman march his way.

“That dog shouldn’t be in the back of the truck. He doesn’t even have any water!”

Don lifted a brow, “Neither do I and you don’t see me complaining.”

“That’s not funny” she bit out the words. “I’m gonna call the cops!”

He shook his head. He couldn’t believe such ridiculousness.

Inside, he ordered his usual—coffee, two creams, two hot apple pies—then slid into the booth where his cronies awaited. Between gulps of coffee, Don reported the exchange that had just taken place outside, drawing laughter and guffaws from the others. “Guess it’s time to go and make a buck,” he sighed.

Outside, he opened the box and tossed Elmo his daily pie ration. Elmo’s tail whipped back and forth in pure joy. “Dumb dog,” he mumbled, affectionately. “Let’s get a move-on.”

This is my father, Don Bovaird. He had a passion for old vehicles, Ford and GMC motors, his dog, McDonalds and the town where we lived. I'll post more about him as we go along.

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