Submitted by Sloane E. Mercer
As I was driving on the highway, I noticed two auto transport trucks in a row. “Yes”, I said to myself, “It’s October”. In Central Florida where I live, loaded auto transport trucks are as sure of a sign of fall as are the leaves turning colors or Halloween pumpkins in front of houses. Glancing at the cars on trucks, I noticed all the different models and colors of cars. The different color license plates made a rainbow of the path across America. I thought about what they represented: families coming together, meeting old friends, making new friends, or even starting a life in a new place. My eyes misted a little as these ungainly appearing transports touched a chord of memory very dear to me.
I was always very close to my Grandma Trudy. We would play dolls together, she would fix my hair, and she would tell me stories of her childhood. Then, when I was five, she became ill and died very suddenly. The loss of these shared moments left a space in my heart that begged to be filled. Shortly after her death, my family moved to Florida for my father’s work. My grandfather, my connection to my memories of Grandma Trudy, stayed in Michigan. Although we talked by telephone, it was not the same as his being here.
One day, just before my eighth birthday, a very large truck carrying many cars pulled in front of my house. My brother and I watched with fascination as it made all kind of noises when the driver lowered different cars from the trailer. Unexpectedly, there it was! Grandpa’s big green car came off the truck. Oh, how I loved that car. My father called it a boat but to me it was special. In it I had gone to the zoo with Grandma Trudy. We sat in the backseat and laughed because we could not reach the front seat with our feet. As the driver parked the car in our driveway, I began to wonder why the car was here. What did it mean? The driver tooted his horn and waved at my brother and me as he drove off. Just then, my Dad pulled up and out of the car emerged Grandpa.
How had this happened? Was this magic? Did the car make my grandfather appear? I learned my grandfather had become a “snowbird”. He would spend winters near us in Florida. Often he would come to my home and, after dinner, we would sit together on the couch. While he would not play dolls with me or fix my hair, he did tell me stories about Grandma Trudy, my mother as a girl, and how much my grandmother loved me. While this did not make up for Grandma Trudy’s absence, it did fill some of the emptiness in my heart. And, he did take my brother and me places in his big green car. It seemed so special because of its size especially compared to my parent’s car. Every time I got into the car, I believed I could smell Grandma Trudy’s perfume and memories flooded back.
And so it began. The auto transport truck marked the seasons. Every fall, the auto transport service truck would arrive. We would wave to the driver and call out in our excitement. Like Santa Claus, the driver would deliver the big green car and I would know Grandpa would not be far behind. The memories and the stories would start again and the emptiness in my heart would grow smaller. Then each spring, the truck would return, load the big green car, and Grandpa would leave for Michigan. It became a dependable cycle of magical anticipation of his return.
As I grew older and became wiser to the ways of the world, I realized the auto transport was bringing the car because my grandfather would be arriving soon. But, it was no less magical because it also bought those special feelings for my Grandma Trudy that may have faded with time or the increasing skepticism of adolescence. In my eyes, that big, old green car was as bedazzling as it ever was.
Now I consider myself a young woman. Each autumn, as I drive around Central Florida, I see transport trucks loaded with cars from up North traveling down the highway and I wonder where those cars will be delivered. Is there a little girl waiting for the arrival of her big green car, her grandfather, and the memories that will enrich her for the rest of her life? I wonder if the drivers know of the magic they bring as they reunite families and create hope.
Submitted by Sloane E. Mercer
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