A Thousand Things, A Thousand Times

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I am now the sole driver in my house and I have two working (licensed, even!)  vehicles in the driveway.  I have my mom-van (that’s another post in and of itself,) and Brian’s (my?) LandCruiser.  Even if you’re new to this blog, you’ve probably picked up that we have a bit of a thing for classic LandCruisers.  Well, Brian had a thing for classic LandCruisers and, although I continually harped on him about his constant need to replace one with another without ever getting rid of the first one (TRUTH,) somewhere along the way we all fell in love with those old trucks, too.  The fact of the matter is that there is not another 4 wheeled road legal vehicle that would have been better suited for him.  Oh how he loved the old LandCruisers!  The only thing he liked better than driving that truck (any of the 3) was watching me drive that truck.  It’s old, there are certain problems with the truck: the gas gauge doesn’t work, 2nd gear is a little sticky, and even though it has air conditioning, he never dared try it because, well, because old trucks sometimes blow up if you try to do strange things like run the air conditioning.  It takes forever to start and it has to run for a bit before you can take off down the road, it guzzles gas, occasionally leaks oil, it’s not terribly fond of speeds over 65mph, the engine compartment is bigger than my laundry room, and I drive it every chance I get.  It’s easier than driving home in another vehicle and seeing the truck in the driveway and thinking, “YAY, Brian’s home!”  I thought that for over 13 years.  I think it a thousand times a day.

A thousand little things a thousand times a day.

Brian would have – and often did – give anyone the shirt off his own back.  He was kind and generous and when he asked you how you were, he genuinely cared.  I have gotten so many messages and letters since he died from former employees and old friends who all commented on the fact that he always took time for them, always asked about them, and always cared.  It’s true.  That’s just who he was.  He cared about who you were and what you liked.  He would listen to you until you were done talking.   That said, Brian was incredibly private.  He didn’t share himself, his true self, with very many people.  In fact, he told me often that he shared his true self with exactly one person: me.  I believe him.  The fact that I’m sharing this stuff online and that he’s now all over Facebook and the web makes me laugh – he’d hate it outwardly, but I think he’d secretly love it.  I think Brian always wanted folks to know the real him, but he didn’t know how to show it… except to me.

Every time I start the clothes dryer I laugh because he mostly did his own laundry, but would empty the wet clothes into the dryer and then start a new load in the washer, but forget to start the dryer.  He’d go down to get his clothes for work and they’d be wet.  Every time  I start the dryer, I think of him.

A thousand little things a thousand times a day.

Brian was one of the smartest people I ever met.  He was brilliant and so knowledgable about almost everything, yet he wasn’t a reader.  Yes, of course, he could read and read well, but he was so detail oriented that he literally read every letter of every word.  He wasn’t like me and most folks who skim.  Each tiny letter meant something and to skip one might mean missing something, so it took him a long time to read.  He also didn’t stay still very well because he always felt there was too much to do, so sitting down to read a book was not something he did.  Until this summer.  This summer he read 3 books while floating in the pool.  In over 13 years, they were the first books I saw him read cover to cover and, as an avid, voracious reader, I was thrilled with this new development.  He was so tickled with himself that he finally found a way to enjoy reading again.  One of the books he read is still in the mudroom.  I pass it all the time and I smile and think of how he found a new part of himself.

A thousand little things a thousand times a day.

For the last 3 years, my darling ginormous dog, Hank, would go apeshit crazy at 8:50am 5 days a week.  Somehow, even if Brian wasn’t in the room yet, Hank would go bananas because he knew that Brian was leaving for work.  Brian would grab his wallet and the knife he always kept in his back pocket, throw his workshirt over his t-shirt, and Hank would be running in circles, barking, jumping, whining, throwing a full-out fit.  Brian would look at him and say, “Dammit, Hank, I’m allowed to kiss my wife!”  And kiss me he would and then he would leave for work.  8:50 comes and goes now without remark.

A thousand little things a thousand times a day.

I don’t know what it is about music, but it’s highly personal.  I know it is for me.  My music collection borders on hoarding and I’m perfectly fine with it.  I have a huge range of music that I listen to and like.  I think most folks do, too, but it’s amazing to me how many people will avoid letting folks in to their full music collection.  We all like things that don’t fit our mold.  Brian was a country boy who loved Kid Rock and The Grateful Dead, but when it would be just us, he would admit that he liked old school Billy Joel and Phil Collins. Me, too!

A thousand little things a thousand times a day.

I hear a belt buckle jingle and I catch my breath,  I heard it every day.  The investigator still has his belt.

The kids grab the black coffee cup to make hot chocolate.  He always drank from the black coffee cups (we have several.)

I drive past the grocery store every day and pick up the phone to ask him if he needs anything.

American Pickers, Gold Rush, How the States Got Their Shapes, MacGyver which he loved.  Three’s Company which he hated.

Peanuts.

Sour cream and onion dip with wavy potato chips.

Zip ties.

Fields begging to be driven through.

Ripples in still water.

The Weather Channel.

Untucked sheets.

Chess boards.

Random nuts, bolts, screws, and corks.

Duct tape.

WD-40.

Weeds in the driveway.

ManTracker.

Socks on the floor.

Shirts on the kitchen chairs.

A thousand things a thousand times a day.

And growing.

Man Woman and Truck

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