That Shiny Red Jeep

I am a little homesick. I know what you’re thinking. I’m not talking about Quinton, Oklahoma. I hate that place. When I think of “home,” I imagine a place where I once lived.

I remember living on Beaver Mountain. The first time. I was in Kindergarten, I think. We eventually moved away and came back to Beaver Mountain in the third grade, but that’s a different story. When I lived there the first time, my parents bought me a shiny red battery-operated jeep. Me and my brother drove it around until it stopped working. We put a lot of mileage on that jeep.

We imagined we were construction workers. We would fill that jeep with buckets of dirt and transport the cargo to the other side of the yard. We felt important. I honestly can’t tell you what was so fun about hauling around dirt, but I know that it made us happy.

I had no fears, hopes, dreams, or even any concept of time. I was just a little punk. I didn’t understand life. I don’t say this because I feel I have achieved a higher level of thinking since then. I feel I have only achieved a different level of thinking.

Now, I am afraid. I am afraid of waking up one day an old man that constantly looks to the past for assurance that his life wasn’t a waste. I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid of going insane.

Now, I have a firm understanding of time. I have hopes. I have dreams. Mostly, I am just homesick. “Home” was the point in my life where I was the most happy. I was “home” when we were riding around in that jeep, just me and my brother.

Life is too complicated. I am a long way from home. Last week, one of my teachers called me out in the middle of class and asked me why I was always so happy. He said that every time he sees me, I have a big smile on my face. I was startled. I don’t think I smile any more than the next person. Apparently I do.

Life is rough right now, but I’m still smiling. I don’t know why. Maybe I smile because I can still feel that plastic steering wheel in my hands. I can see the sparkle of that shiny red jeep. I can still look back to make sure my “cargo” is okay.

When the sun would go down, my mother would stand on the porch and tell us to come inside. We would protest. “Just one more load of dirt, mom! Just one more load!”

Sixteen years later, I sometimes feel like giving up. When the sun is barely there, I remind myself.

“Just one more load!”

Published in: on February 3, 2008 at 1:23 am  Comments (2)