“The moon loves you, Dad,” said Jeep, one of my grandsons who lived in Maine and who was practically born in the seat of an old ’56 Jeep relegated to the farm. You can imagine very easily that is how Jasper got his nickname. The Jeep was an old army surplus vehicle left over from the Korean War that I was in during all of 1951. From the first, Jeep was a mover, hardly slowing down, except for cows, goats, sheep, hens and ducks, sometimes a pig as big as a mountain, at least big as your house. He roamed the whole farm and knew all its secrets, including the secret visitors that came onto the farm in the night time when most animals and people were sound asleep.
The animals of the farm, a big mix of them, had the run of the farm like Jeep did on those good days that came all fluffed up with sunshine. He treated them well, this blond little Jeepster. He loved every one of the animals, big or small; counted them over and over, dawn down to dusk checking on what might have strayed outward when his back was turned, or when his father was off at work.
The nights had a difference to them, and sometimes they came sparkling or golden from hill to barn, from weather vane to treetop on another hill. Those nights grabbed Jeep’s attention all the way.
But when August’s moon came, like a ship over the far horizon with its sails all furled up at the beginning of its voyage and fall not far away, Jeep was caught up in its mystery and how it touched at all his senses.
Now and then, under the round full moon later in the month, which he said he could move all by himself by running rings around underneath it, his eyes recognized the other parts of life.
He saw how the moon gradually fell like a golden butter upon his father doing the evening chores after his days spent at work away from the farm.
“The moon loves you, Dad,” said Jeep, going into second gear around the barn with his red Radio Flyer with high wooden sides and the black Jeep logo on the rear end.
“The moon really loves you, Dad,” he said. “Is it really warm on you, Dad? Is it like pancakes on crispy mornings? Does it smell like syrup on your face? Is it like the bread that Grandma makes? I bet I know what it’s really like, Dad. It’s like corn when it’s tasseled new. It’s like butter getting lost on your toast. It’s like my Grandma’s best-of-all hugs when I know I’m her very-best boy.”
Jeep drove these thoughts around with him and he didn’t even have a trailer, just his small red wagon.
In that wagon he carried split oak logs to fill up the wood box for the kitchen stove, and golden corn by great stacks when the crop was ripe and ready for picking, and sometimes, on golden nights like some nights coming as a gift, like one night I remember, a whole patch of the moon sitting right in his wagon as though he was a special delivery man coming to the farm.
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