Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life. ~Ian Fleming
When most people see a construction zone they try to avoid it, or they begin spouting off feelings of frustration or even anger. I don’t like the headache of roadwork or construction areas either, the waiting to take a turn to proceed or the smell of tar, or the loud disrupting noises or worse, having to drive in slow motion for miles. Nope, those aren’t my ideas of an enjoyable ride.
However, to this day, when I’m in close proximity to a building construction site, those that require the large trucks to move dirt or flatten an area, it brings a smile to my face. Not from the idea of progress or the anticipation of something new, but simply from the memory of one little enthused child and how he was just like his dad.
Before Kyle could speak, he loved trucks and large vehicles, just like Ryan. I can’t say this interest has sustained over the years, but there was a time when Bob the Builder was his main man.
On a side note, I bought Kyle a pair of Bob the Builder boots and he LOVED them! He strutted around in those things everywhere. Even when the snow cleared, he wore them for as long as his little piggies would fit comfortably.
What made me thing of this? I was in Latrobe the other day prepping for the Latrobe Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt and there’s a section of town under construction for the new Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) branch. They have the orange cones out to direct traffic away from potential debris and the caution tape up. I didn’t see any giant real-life Tonka trucks, but I’m sure they were there at one point. Taking a moment, I stood to watch the activity, which cracks me up and takes me back a few years.
When Kyle was just a little tyke, still riding around in his car seat in the backseat of my car, he would become mesmerized by construction vehicles. I mean that, he LOVED watching them! I would drive extra slow past development activity and he would point and giggle and watch with wide eyes. It was quite funny. Sometimes he would say, “Slow Aiya.” All I could say was, “Ok, buddy!” What’s really ironic, Kyle has proven to NOT be the blue collar type, yet there was a time when he was all about construction work.
Seriously! Many times when we weren’t in any particular hurry, I would intentionally go out of my way to drive Kyle past a work zone. Lucky for us we live in Western Pennsylvania where there is no shortage of roadwork. I would slowly creep along letting him take in as much as he could. Allowing him to get the full effect, I would wind down the windows, yes even in the dead of winter, so he could smell the air and really hear the sounds. He LOVED it!
Kyle didn’t even need to be in a car. He would act the same while standing there observing the workers in the distance. I know I’ve talked about the Seton Hill University construction site previously Who Does Kyle Favor More, His Dad?.
Kyle was so excited about these little adventures, he couldn’t wait to tell his gigi and pappy and Aunt “Nitti” (Nikki). Personally, I had a blast watching the enthusiasm erupting from the kid. Usually, after the stories of all the construction vehicles were told, he would get out his own CAT or Tonka trucks and hang out in his sandbox or build in the living-room. He would drive those realistic looking toys around and mimic the sounds of the trucks and the engines roaring to life. He was so stinking cute! I just wanted to gobble him up!
On a side note, Kyle’s sandbox wasn’t one of those small plastic structures purchased at Toys R Us. O no! He had a custom deal, similar to the one we had as kids, dad made sure of it. Both sandboxes, even though they were about twenty years apart were very similar, both built from boards and both required a dump truck full of sand to fill up the space. Kyle’s was smaller, for there was only one of him and three of us, measured to about a four or five foot square. Ours, unlike Kyle’s which was placed front and center in the front yard, resided on the side of the house, but was somewhat shaded by the trees. It measured about four or five feet by eight feet or so. Dad even made us little seats at the corners. Dad’s logic? He felt it gave us enough room to move around and really play, which we did as did Kyle. The sandbox was the best idea ever! Nicole, Ryan and myself played hard in our sandbox for years. I joined Kyle in his too. He also loved his designated play space. To be honest, and I know Kyle would agree with this, the best part was building and preparing the sandbox for the sand and then to have the big dump truck back into position and dump all that sand. It was intense! I loved it as a kid and it was equally as exciting watching Kyle get a kick over it.
During those years Kyle really reminded me of Ryan. Kyle’s dad was the same way, except he never EVER outgrew his love of trucks and cars. Perhaps it was an environmental thing, Ryan was always around dad, especially when they had the sawmill and they worked together in the garage, building and tinkering around. Kyle was never exposed to any of that. Poor guy, he didn’t really get to hang with his dad much before Ryan moved on, only three months. Then Kyle was stuck with me to help out. It’s true my dad was always around, almost never leaving Kyle’s side, but not like he was when Ryan was little, and certainly not the same before Ryan passed away. I guess time changes us all in different ways.
Regardless, Kyle was all his dad for those few shorts years and I’m glad I was there to witness it and to help him enjoy the simpler things in life. I hope he never looses that spirit and always remembers his roots!