Grandpa Sam was a truck driver, moving freight between Seattle and Sacramento. Sometimes in the summer, he’d take me with him for a few days. High from my perch in the cab overlooking the highway, I’d listen as he sang with the Oak Ridge Boys on the 8-track player, “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now” and “Daddy sang bass. Momma sang tenor.”
They were endless days dreaming about the people driving in the cars on the road next to us. I imagined being the businessman in the Lincoln, headed into the big city to meet with the President. Stretches through the desert became opportunities to fly my rocketship over the terrain of far-off planets in search of alien life. The pig-tailed girl playing with her Barbie doll and who waved from the back of the green station wagon was my friend, communicating with me by ESP.
Every truck stop was like a visit to the zoo where I could see strange people unlike the ordinary folk we had in our small country town. Between the smell of stale cigarettes and burnt coffee it was usually more than a 10-year old boy could handle, but there was always one saving grace: a cup of steaming hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. My drink always seemed to be delivered by an old pink-haired woman in a short pink dress who called me “honey.” It was okay. I thought I was someone special to each of those waitresses.
Mile after mile I’d ride with the widow rolled down, the warm night air working it’s best to blow the sleep from my eyes. I’d stare with wonder into the expanse of the night sky. Was it possible that each of the stars might be angels winking at me from Heaven? Soon I’d be asleep, preparing for a new adventure.
The older I get, the more often I think back to those distant days of childhood. Life couldn’t get any better back then, and I was sure I knew everything there was to know about the world, life, and my future. Now each memory grows more fond with every passing year, yet the freedom to imagine tomorrow seems like listening to a far-fetched dream being told by my own grandson. Days without cares and worries, toys and adventures, they’ve all drifted far behind me, but the child-like faith I had in God is something I’ve never outgrown. Eternity is in view.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. But now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known (1 Corinthians 13:11-12).