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Many years ago I was talking to my mother-in-law on the phone when I looked outside and said, “I gotta go! My birthday present is here!” “Oooh, exciting! Call me back!”

When I was done instructing the driver where to deposit my birthday present, I called her back.

“Tell me! What did you get?”

“A dump truck load of gravel!”

“You did not ask for gravel for your birthday.”

“More than once.”

She was accustomed to receiving a different class of rock as gifts, albeit not by the dump truck load.

It feels like my birthday because we just got lots of gravel. Very nearly 30 tons, which is three times more than that long-ago birthday present. According to the quarry, there is approximately 1.3 tons per yard, a figure I find hard to fathom. I’m pretty sure I’ve spread at least one yard of gravel back in the day, which means I’ve moved at least 2,600 pounds of rock with a shovel and a rake. My trophy must have gotten lost in the mail.

I did not move one ounce of this load. Not until I get my trophy.

It occurred to me that I know someone with access to a big truck, and the quarry where they make gravel, where all the local gravel-sellers buy it and then sell it for more than double what we ended up paying for it (which does not include truck time), is close by. I could not be more excited.

C1 backing into our driveway. Only he, Captain OCD, and I believed he could do it. That’s why the relatives showed up to watch. He did it.

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The ferry traffic will just have to wait.

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Nana is doing a good job of making sure he stays off the lawn.

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So far, so good.

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The next tricky part: he has to essentially jack-knife the truck, in not-much room, in order to dump the load.

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Jack-knife achieved. Captain OCD’s sister/our next-door neighbor. Lens hood in the way.

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Now, we dump.

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Is that all there is?

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Yep. Still gravel.

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It’s not going to spread itself, ladies.

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I don’t think those LED lights are stock. It wouldn’t be the first work truck that he doesn’t own that he’s outfitted with after-market parts.

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Nana riding shotgun. C1 has been driving things like this for quite a while, but it’s only just occurred to me that he gets paid to do what his younger self could hardly have dreamed of. Before he could talk, before he knew what his dad did for a living, he was fascinated by big trucks and machines. He first controlled a Bobcat when he was three, sitting on Captain OCD’s lap. At five, he dug part of a pond (to the left of the wire fence), with an excavator, while sitting on no one’s lap. We ran outside when we heard the excavator start, because, uh oh, where’s C1? But we won’t tell CPS that.

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Watching Captain OCD operate machines is like watching a ballet. You wouldn’t think he and diesel-powered heavy metal would be graceful, but you would be wrong.

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That pile didn’t look like enough. Now we know: 30 tons of 3/4 washed is enough.

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