My youngest’s sweetheart returned home last weekend after six l-o-n-g months of military training. My daughter held up pretty well during the separation. Or so I thought.
She has been singing for five days. Did she always used to laugh this much, before Mr. Fantastic left for basic training? Maybe I’m imagining things, but she seems pinker, more alive, more sparkly these past few days.
Of course she missed her sweetheart. Everyone who knows the girl knows that. But, I guess I didn’t realize how very much she missed him until they were reunited.
* * *
I had an errand to run on the UTM Ag Campus yesterday. At the equipment shop, the farm manager asked if I’d like a tour. I scrambled up into a dusty pickup truck.
“Sorry about the dirt,” my guide apologized. “Guess I don’t keep a very clean truck!”
“No problem,” I laughed. I settled in, and we rumbled slowly down a bumpy gravel road past a corrugated tin barn.
And suddenly, I was a six-year-old girl sitting on a vinyl bench seat next to my granddad, my feet swinging above the dust-caked floorboard, my hand combing the cool air just outside the open window as we drove down a pockmarked dirt road to check on the hogs.
I didn’t know I missed the smell of farm dust, aged inside a work truck like wine inside an barrel. I didn’t know I missed the clatter of a diesel engine, and fresh air through my fingers, the crunch of boots on gravel and the chin jerk “hello” shared between farmers.
I didn’t know what I was missing.