Pickup Trucks and Pennies From Heaven

We miss Dad.

My brother and I are standing outside in the dark beside our trucks, talking in low voices about our dreams of Dad.

"Yeah," my brother says. "The day I bought my banjo, that night, I dreamed Dad and Papa Lee were laughing and dancing. Dad was doing that thing he used to do, you know how he'd hunch his shoulders up and go in those circles?"

"Like Bill Cosby?"

"Yeah, I always thought he danced just like Bill Cosby."

We love Bill Cosby,too.

"I think he and Papa Lee were happy I got the banjo," my brother says.

That would be like them, I think. Dad's father, Papa Lee, had a banjo, used to play in Vaudeville theaters before my father was born and then continued to entertain his family by playing the ukulele. I could see him dancing with happiness that the musical gene has continued on through the generations.

I tell my brother the dream I had where Dad comes and hugs me. But I realize in the moment that he takes me into his arms, he's dead. This isn't real.

I say this and my brother begins to cry. I look at him and dissolve myself. We stand between our two pickup trucks, crying, our children clustered around us, awkwardly patting our backs.

"I'm sorry," I tell my son later. "I didn't mean to do that."

"That's all right," he says, hugging me. "It was bound to happen. Every time you get together with your brother or your sister, you guys wind up crying."

Yeah, true that.

It's bedtime. Tomorrow is a new day, I think. No more tears for the rest of the trip, I promise myself...but I feel like I could cry forever.

I reach into my bag for pajamas. There is a penny resting on top of the bag. Another penny from Heaven.

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