“Did you ever drive a truck?”
“A few times.”
Charlie moved the plastic farm animals across the play mat. I marvelled at his imagination, herding the stock, driving tractors and cars, carrying on a conversation with the toy figures.
“What sort of truck, Grandpa?”
“I had special lessons and sat an exam so I could drive a truck to help my friend move house. We carried his furniture in the truck.”
“A big truck?”
“Not very big, but I still had to learn how to drive it.”
“Was he pleased you helped him?”
“Yes. We helped each other.”
Silence again, as the animals moved through another gate to fresh pasture and the ducks went for a swim in the pond.
“Did you ever drive a tractor, Grandpa?”
“Yes, I drove tractors for a farmer - before I married Nana.”
“I want to drive trucks, one day. Big trucks.”
“I’ve seen them going past Uncle Tim’s farm. He said they were milk tankers.”
“You want to drive milk tankers?”
“’Cause milk is good for you. Mummy says it makes your bones strong.”
“She’s right. It does.”
“Well, if milk is good for people, I want to make sure they get plenty. What’s the time, Grandpa?”
“It’s time to get the children from the school bus,” said Charlie as he drove the farmer’s car across the mat.
When the car returned, Charlie gathered the animals into the yard and put them carefully in the toy box, each in its own place.
“My truck’s going to have a special sign so everyone knows I’m taking milk to the children.”
“What are you going to put on the sign?”
“A picture of a black and white cow. Some green grass. And …”
Charlie closed his eyes, as if imagining the sign.
“And, ‘Milk for strong bones’.”
“That’s a great plan.”
“Yes. Yes it is. And I’ll make sure all the children get their milk from me.”
“Because I’ll have the best milk in all the world.”
Charlie smiled. The bright smile of a boy who planned to deliver the best milk in the world.
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