I was all set to write about my current fascination with construction sites. Talk about how I want to grow up and be a construction worker.
I was going to tell you about the Caterpillar key I have that belonged to my grandfather. And how it could start any Caterpillar. Any one at all.
I was going to tell you that I keep it on the key chain with the keys to my parents' apartments.
I was going to say that I get a little thrill walking past those machines thinking that maybe the key I have still works and that I could just start her up and drive off down the road.
But, now I just cannot seem to be able to find the damn thing.
It really isn't funny.
I cannot think, for the life of me, where it might be.
It has been on my key chain since I was in High School. The keys may have changed but nothing else has.
So now I'm a little distracted from my plans of dropping out of the rat race to pick up a shovel.
I'm really disappointed in myself for losing that key. I have so few things in my possession as mementos of my grandparents. A rosary, a set of worry beads, a dog tag. Not a lot. There are plenty of pictures though, and memories. On my father's side I remember plenty of weekend afternoons playing with my cousin on the sticky, plastic covered couches. Or underneath the table while Yankee games played on TV. I remember having my nose stolen countless times and sitting at the window, watching the world go by. There was one time, when I was spending the night at their place in The Bronx, around Easter. I was staying up late, watching Jesus of Nazareth from the leather recliner in the dining room. All of the lights in the apartment were off and in the flickering from the television set I watched the silhouette of a mouse running along the baseboards. There was also the time I got myself locked in their bathroom. But that was just ridiculous and I refuse to go into it.
My mom's mother and I were pretty close. I used to spend long weekends at her house. And every summer, almost every Sunday, we would hit the road before dawn and head out to her house in Massapequa. From there, a quick stop for Gertz' buns (and half-and-half cookies for us kids) and straight on to Jones' Beach for a day on the sand. When I stayed at Grandma's house there were always trips to the beauty parlor, meals at Red Lobster and laps around the mall at Roosevelt Field with my great-grandparents. She always had beach towels spread out on the seats of her car. It was big, and silver with black, leather...Or vinyl, I don't even know. I do know that on hot days you could get third degree burns from sitting on the seats in that car. Hers was the house where my cousins and I played at mixing drinks at the dusty bar in the basement. It's where I watch The Natural and almost peed my pants watching The Amityville Horror for the first time.
My grandfather though, there aren't many memories of him. Mostly just impressions, he died when I was very young. I think I remember his hands, but not the missing finger so maybe I don't. There's a portrait of him that my mother painted. It's at my dad's house. We rescued it when she purged herself of all her art. I haven't had it shipped to Chicago yet. Part of me has no idea where we would hang it. The other part of me figures I'll be back in New York soon.
The pictures of me and my grandfather are all with my mother. She has all of the old photos. Including the one of me with the goat grandpa tried to buy from the petting zoo for me (or so the story goes.)
So one last thing of his that I have. Damnit, I wish I knew where that thing went.
I was really looking forward to sneaking out tonight and busting into the construction site down the street to see if it still worked.