To say that my dad was eccentric is an understatement. He came out of poverty from the hills of Kentucky and worked hard to improve his life, joined the army, served in World War II, worked at Kellogg's of Battle Creek, moved to California and went into business for himself. He flew private planes and doted on his grandchildren. That being said, he did have his idiosyncrasies. One of which was that he trusted no one. Nope, no one. I think in some way that's why I have an analytical brain. I don't take things for face value. I love a good mystery book or movie and try to figure out the solution before the ending. I always credit it to years of reading Nancy Drew but I know Dad has something to do with it as well.
Throughout my childhood I would sit in the back seat of our car with my two sisters listening to Dad say, "That car looks suspicious." He'd write the license plate number in the dust on the dash "just in case" he needed to do something with it. We'd sit in the back and roll our eyes, never daring to say anything to him. He never did anything with those numbers. Just added to them every time we went somewhere. Didn't everyone live like that!?!
I now live in the central valley of California, Almond orchard central. Every year at this time the almonds are harvested. Some nice person doesn't climb a ladder and pick those little nuts one by one by hand. Oh, no! A farm worker, like the one at the end of my street this morning, climbs on board a shaker. It's a devious piece of farm equipment that I swear was invented by Tim Burton, or in the least, could be in one of his movies.
It's driven up to the unsuspecting tree, it's long arms are wrapped around the trunk like a warm September hug, they turn on the motor and WHAM! A whole lot of shaking is going on!!!! The nuts fall to the ground and the contraption moves on to the next innocent little tree and this goes on, ad nauseam. The first time I saw one in action I was driving by in my car and I almost ran off the road and peed my pants laughing as it is quite comical to watch. After the nuts are all on the ground, another piece of farm equipment comes by and sweeps them up, deposits them via conveyor belt into a waiting truck where they are then taken to an almond place and processed. (You can tell by my professional vernacular that I am no farmer!)
One of the byproducts of the shaking is the dust. We have no rain here during the summer growing season so things are pretty dry, dusty and dirty. The dust is everywhere and they even have to put "low visibility" signs on the streets because it's downright dangerous at times to drive through it as you can't see a thing. It makes it's way down the streets and through the fields and into my little house and all over my furniture. I can dust one minute and it's back the next. It's a futile pursuit, but one I keep at because I have the misguided hope that at some point I will triumph!
During this time of year when the morning light is streaming into the house I can see the dust particles dancing in the air. You could write your name in the dust on my buffet in the dining room. Heck, you could write the Gettysburg Address on it! I just look at it and think of Dad and those license plate numbers on the dash.