Harry Kalas’ voice came through the car stereo in crackling, smothered tones. My granddad would fiddle with the dial and as he leaned forward, the smell of his cigarettes would brush off his clothes and mingle with the stale, oil-stained air. The pickup truck was a faded red and smelled of one leaking fluid or another, but there, on the duct-taped seat, I felt loved.
My memory is as foggy as Harry Kalas’ voice through the hundred miles of Appalachian static, so I can’t quite recall if the hole in the truck was in the passenger side door or somewhere along the floor, but the smells of cigarette and oil and the vibrations of the rattling vehicle are as clear as my grandfather’s photograph before me. As easily recalled as Harry’s, “swing and a miss.”
These are the types of stories that will never make it into the history books. Even if our lives took us somewhere grander and much more in the public eye than the one way streets, the small companionships that littered our days would not be included in our biographies. The shards of minute intimacies and loves are not important enough for the public stage, but they make us who we are, just the same.
My grandfather was not the type of man to hug and kiss those he loved. In fact, as strongly as his presence is in my memory, I cannot recall him ever telling me that he did. But, if you asked me, if you ever doubted, I would tell you about the red truck with duct tape, the Phillies game on the radio, and the adventures we would go on in the town that he helped make. I would say that, without a doubt, I was loved.
This post is the first installment in the new, I Am Loved Project. For more information, please visit: I Am Loved Project.
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