Tank tops and shorts on the first warm day of April, sprawled on the dorm lawn in adolescent abandon, air smelling of baby oil, iodine, and sweet spring sweat. The Eiffel Tower on the first warm day of April, arm locked with arm among the winds of Paris, air smelling of wine, tulips and a lover's sweet caress. Boy child and ball on the first warm day of April, laughter on a learning curve stumbling in wet grass, air smelling of new mud, wet pine, sweet sun after rain. Contemplating the dappled shade on the first warm day of April, glider swing creaking its soft lullaby, air smelling of lavender, memories, and sweet seasoned dreams.
I look out my rear window and all I can see is the monstrous cab of a bright and shiny red eighteen wheeler. He’s practically crawling up my spoiler. I’m in the left lane on a two-lane stretch of the Mass Pike. I’m driving back from a couple of nights helping out my daughter and the day is gloriously just spring.
I’m on cruise control, two car lengths behind the car in front of me — in front of which are a couple of big delivery trucks. To the right of us are an empty car-carrier and another truck. I can’t move into the right lane. I pump my brakes, but the monster cab is so close to my rear that he probably can’t see them. We all drive along that way for a while, the trucks setting the speed, the red monster cab threatening to gobble me up.
There’s finally an opening in the right lane, and we two cars take it. The trucks take off in front of us, passing each other in some kind of bizzare tag game as they disappear into the distance.
It’s so warm that I open my sun roof, loving the freedom of the road, radio station surfing to find some music that suits my mood. I settle on Country. It reminds me of my carefree adolescence hanging out with a bunch of guys who had a country western band. They taught me the only three guitar chords I know, the ones that suit just about every Everly Brothers tune — at least the ones that were popular during the 50s. As I continue my controlled cruising, I tap my foot to the simple rhythms of songs about old cars and lost loves and I sip at my bottle of cold Starbuck’s Mocha. Life is good.
And then it gets better. I zoom by (just a bit over the speed limit) the big bad bright red monster eighteen wheeler, along with three of the other trucks, pulled over to the side of the road by a blue light blinking police car. I’m tempted to beep or wave out my open sunroof; I opt for descretion. Then Martina McBride comes on with This One’s for the Girls, and by the time she gets around to singing the chorus for the second time, I’m singing it with her:
This one’s for the girls
Who’ve ever had a broken heart
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star
You’re beautiful the way you are
This one’s for the girls
Who love without holdin’ back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world
Now both feet are tappin’. I’m dancin’ in my seat.
It’s a good day.