By the time my father makes it out the front door of our house we are both sitting in the front seat of the fifty-four Chevy waiting. My father opens the driver’s side door and looks at us, checking to see if we are wearing clothes fit for the workplace. He doesn’t say anything, which means we pass the test. He bumps the starter and the engine runs with almost no noise or vibration, my father takes good care of his car.
“First thing I want the two of you to do is load some stuff into the pick-up,” my father is mostly talking to himself, planning our day but if we listen closely we will have less questions to ask later. “Load the big stuff first. There are several sheets of plywood. Load that first,” he looks over at the two of us, “if it’s too heavy get help. Put the toolbox on last, it will help hold everything down. When we get to the jobsite I’ll let you off at the house we just finished framing. Put everything that’s not nailed down into the dumpster and sweep the concrete floor clean.” He pulls into the construction yard and parks in his regular spot. As he walks toward his pick-up he points to the pile of stuff set aside to be taken to the job site so Ricky and I walk there and wait while he backs the pick-up up to the pile. I grab the handle on the tailgate just as the pick-up stops and pull down the tailgate without letting the tailgate drop, my father never lets the tailgate drop on its own. Ricky moves to one side of the stack of plywood and with me on the other we have the first sheet loaded almost before my father gets out of the cab of the pick-up. He looks at us and almost smiles before he heads into the office to do office things.
“How much are we making?” Ricky asks as we put another sheet of plywood into the pick-up bed.
“More than you could imagine,” I say between breaths. “My father pays good.” There are bags of hardware, rolls of paper, two-by-fours. The pick-up starts to look a little loaded, “Make sure nothing will blow out,” I instruct Ricky and we both look over the load to see if anything needs tied down or covered with something heavy. Lastly each of us takes an end of the heavy steel toolbox and just barely make it to the edge of the tailgate, from there we slide it the rest of the way.
“You guys got that?” my father asks as he looks over the load, checking to see if anything is going to blow out. I see the look in my father’s eye that tells me it’s okay and put the tailgate into place without slamming it.