Happy Birthday from Trains and Trucks
I was so excited that I could hardly wait to get out of the bed that morning. My birthday was here! Could you believe that I had been waiting for it a whole year?!?!?!?!?!??!
Mamaw made me 3 boiled eggs and biscuits with butter and jelly. I ate as quick as I could. Billy Ray's cousin was going to take me with him in his fine 18 wheeler to the loading docks to watch them put in strawberries! After that, we were going to get cantaloupe for me and Mamaw! This was going to be the best year ever. I was 5 years old and ready to go!
Billy Ray pulled up in his big pickup truck. I was ready to run out the door, but Billy Ray walked in. "Mornin', Miz Ida, here to pick up a passenger." He said, looking at me and smiling, his missing tooth looked funny to me and I laughed.
She made him a plate for breakfast and Billy Ray talked between bites, barely stopping to breathe.
"Go to the bathroom and pee. Wash your hands and face and brush your teeth." Mamaw said to me, motioning for me to get my morning "deeds" done.
I scampered off, hearing them laughing and talking in the kitchen.
When I came back, Mamaw had cleared the table, she sat me down and braided my hair into two long braids that she formed into a headband that went over the top of my head, set in place by bobby pins.
She pulled off my sundress and fitted me with a pair of tiny overalls and a t-shirt. "You can't wear your sandals and dress today, sis. You are gonna be climbing all over stuff. Aunt Dotty sent over one of the boy's overalls and shirt for you to wear. Plus a pair of their boots they outgrew."
I looked down. These were like what the men wore. I had pockets galore! I had on boots! I was a worker bee!
Billy Ray scooped me up. "Alright, Ida. You've dolled her up enough. She's cuter than a box of puppies. See you after a while!"
"Mind your manners!" Mamaw called after me. I waved and before I knew it, I was in Billy Ray's big truck, bouncing along the road, singing with Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves.
We reached the truck yard, where Clive was waiting for us with his friends. "Sis! Sis! he called out, scooping me up into a hug. "Happy Birthday, Sis!" He sat me on his hip. Billy Ray left, telling him to run me back to Ida's when we were done.
We went into the office, where I was introduced to everyone. I had the best day ever. Clive took me out to his big truck. He showed me where to climb. Before I knew it, I was up in the truck, looking down on the world.
My heart soared. When the "roach coach" came for the truckers, Clive bought me a sandwich and we sat with all of the truckers.
Bo, who was with the trains would tell story after story. I crawled down from Clive's lap and sat on the dirt next to him, where everyone else was crowding him, listening to his every word. I was completely unnoticed. Bo would pause at the end of a tale and everyone would erupt with laughter.
I didn't understand his stories, but he seemed so likeable.
When he was done with one of his stories, I pulled on his cuff. "Excuse me" I said, as I had been taught to do with grown ups. "Excuse me. I didn't understand the story." I said, looking at him. Bo's face went red. "Well. Well. Um. You'd have to drive a truck or a train to get it."
"Can you tell the one about the 3 little bears? Or the one about the 3 little pigs? Or the one about the Princess and the Pea?"
He put out his big hand for me. "I am Bo. See the train over there? When the lunch whistle goes, I will take you on the train before it is ready and give you a tour."
I nodded and found Clive, who was amused that I had embarrassed Bo.
"You got Bo good, sis!" He said, chuckling as we finished off our lunch. He took me to the bathroom and cleaned me off, and when the whistle blew, I found Bo.
"Time for the grand tour." Bo said, telling Clive that he would bring me back in time for college.
Bo walked me around the train, pointing out parts and telling me what they did. Every 3 or 4 parts later, Bo would test me. If I got it right, he would clap his hands together and say "there goes a bright girl."
We climbed into the front of the train, I was lifted up and Bo showed me different things. As were were touring, a man came up to Bo. "All ready, tracks clear."
"We go in 5." Bo said, looking at his watch.
Bo walked me back to Clive and looked down at me.
"Happy Birthday, Sis! Be good!" Bo said and walked back to the train.
Clive walked us over so I could see the train leave.
As they pulled off, Bo played the 6 notes from Happy Birthday on the train horn! I was in awe. The train sang to me!
Clive drove me home with a basket of strawberries and other produce for my birthday. I was asleep in my own bed when I woke up. Mamaw asked me if I had a good time. "Even the train knew it was my birthday, Mamaw! It sang Happy Birthday to me!"