Tumbleweed in the Wind

Old_Truck_in_Condon_(Gilliam_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(gilD0087) - Copy
I remember when grandma held my hand in hers
and I stared in awe
at the deep wrinkles in her tender skin
much softer than the hard leather hands of grandpa
whose grip was like iron on a heavy axe handle
but was gentle on my arms
when he taught me how to cast a line
how to sight my rifle
and how to steer his truck
the one with the rusty flatbed
that we used to bounce in over bumpy roads
on our way for a Sunday breakfast
at a little diner on the edge of town
where good old boys
sopped up golden egg yokes
on flaky buttered biscuits
and I would smile out the window
at the Cattle Dogs in the rear of the pick-ups
yipping at the tumbleweeds
that rolled across wildflowers
on a morning breeze
which had to be
because in the San Joaquin Valley
there is no breeze in the afternoons
on a hot summer day
where on a rare occasion
a thunderhead might miraculously appear
and the entire town would stop and stare
and a single raindrop hitting the parched ground
thumped like the old rawhide mallets
that we used to harvest the almond trees
back before the machines
started rolling down the rows
and leaving farmhand memories
pressed into their deep rutted tracks
deep like the wrinkles I see on my skin
as I hold my grandbaby’s hands in mine
and I remember


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