We are driving up the highway on our way home from a typical crazy trip out. The afternoon started with a long-awaited appointment, and spilled into a trip to the craft store for fabric paint for a school project, a hop into the grocery store for two necessary items for a cake, and a stop at the pharmacy, which (for future reference) closes early on Saturdays.
Just behind my peripheral vision, the clouds are on fire with the setting sun. Up ahead, the sky is tinged with residual pink, as if someone took a paintbrush and accidentally touched a couple spots with the wrong color. It is this time of day on this drive up the highway (as wonder streaks the sky with end-of-day color) when I am most likely to feel that Dad is present.
Suddenly, a large pick up truck pulls alongside my car, then passes me. He is towing a trailer on which rests enough of another truck to allow me to recognize it as an antique from the 1930s.
“There’s a jalopy,” I comment, speaking as much to myself as to my daughter, sitting in the passenger seat. The sight of the antique truck and the recall of the word “jalopy” bring to mind memories of being in the backseat as a child with Dad driving. He would comment on a jalopy on the road or sitting on someone’s front lawn.
“What’s a jalopy?” my daughter asks.
I smile to myself, remembering Dad. “Look it up when we get home.” It’s a Grampa word, I want to tell her, but I don’t.
“I don’t even know how to spell that. How can I look it up?” she asks.
“You’ll figure it out,” I say.
What a great word. Jalopy.