RG’s hydrogen-powered farm-stand/fire engine with the big sign of a flaming pea pod on the side was surrounded by eager berry purchasers at the farmer’s market. It was no longer identified as an “organic farmer’s market.” It was just the “farmer’s market.” Nowadays, a person who felt unsafe unless his food was protected by pesticides had to seek out a special “sprayed food market.”A loud buzzing permeated the farmer’s market, produced by the dozens of windmills at the location, all spinning madly.
A woman in her 50s approached her and called out, “Random Granddaughter! I remember your grandmother, serving coffee and home-baked scones at the snack stand! She would be proud to see what you’ve done with her land!” They chatted nostalgically about RG’s grandmother and about how well she had run the coffee stand and how everybody loved her baked goodies.
Grandma used to say, “Everybody wants baked goods that are good for you, but a lot of those health cookies are heavier than bricks. You could bring down a bunny with some of the ‘health food cookies’ people bake.” Mrs. Random had been renowned for baking nutritious and virtuous cookies that were also light and tasty.

RG’s daughter, Random Great-granddaughter, returned from playing in the giant Fun Forest where children and adults frolicked together and asked her mom, “Can I have some raspberries?”

Reflexively, RG corrected her, “May I have some raspberries?” Her mommies had taught her to be polite and grammatically correct. Then she added, “You can’t just live on raspberries, you know.” It had taken twenty years for RG to overcome all her food persnickityness, but RG finally ate a balanced diet, so she expected her daughter to do the same.

A small adult figure appeared at the truck. “Auntie Mia!” exclaimed RGG. Mia swept RGG up in a hug. RG said, “Mia and I are going to have fun in the Fun Forest. She’s too serious. Her shrink has prescribed fun therapy for her. Please mind the stand for a while. Please sell a few berries as well as eating them.”

“Do I have to? I want to play with Auntie Mia,” RGG whined, warming up to a meltdown. She had inherited her mother’s famous temperament.

“Please don’t talk back to me, young lady,” warned her mother. Everyone who knew them expected fireworks once RGG became a teenager.

Later in the afternoon, as the market closed, the farmers headed for their summer potluck and celebration. Chad and Yoshi joined Mia and RG, as the organic pea pod used RG’s fire truck to drive farm children to the farm near the island’s coast where the party was held that year.

 As the evening grew dark, all the organic farmers and their families gathered on a bluff by the beach, gazing nostalgically at where the mainland of America had once been visible before the deus ex machina.




Yesterday, I ran an errand near the used car dealer who also sells used fire engines. Gathering up all my courage (as I’m still struggle with my desire when younger not to let people know I’m an idiot), I went in to ask about renting a fire engine to impress my granddaughter (who knows she is a fire chief).

The owner, named Terry, was in, and reacted to my query with amiable good humor. He told me that it costs $50 to rent a fire engine for a day (plus gas, which I imagine adds to the cost considerably these days). He said fire engines are rented by people doing some burning on private property.

“I frequently get requests from people who want to rent one for their child’s birthday party, but I usually have to turn them down. The liability issues are just too difficult.

“The children always want to climb all over it and play with everything and turn all the dials and pull all the knobs. There are sharp objects, and they can hurt themselves; it’s a working fire engine, and they can break vital parts.

“However, if you make arrangements in advance, so I can be sure I will be here, you can bring your granddaughter and she can climb in the driver’s seat and turn the steering wheel. You can do that for free.”

When I talked to my Daughter out of Law last night, I told her that we should make such an arrangement for the next time they visit. We would meet them at the car lot and all share the fire truck experience with Random Granddaughter.

However, I am still scheming. First, I want to see if RG really gets a kick out of being on a fire engine. Adults often think they know what children want, and arrange something for them, and then get all bent out of shape if the children  don’t react as the adults want them to.

Second, I think most of Terry’s objections could be met by hiring him to drive the fire truck to RG’s preschool. He could supervise the children’s use of the fire truck; RG cold happily gloat about “her” fire truck and show it off to the rest of the children, and Grandpa could quietly gloat in the background and sneer at Grandma, who thinks his idea is crazy. I figure with the gas and Terry’s time and the ferry tolls, etc. we’re probably talking about $400 or $500 dollars for a day of fire truck fun.

Also, I am a thinking about something to sell to the readers of my blog to help raise money for the “Spoil Random Granddaughter (but just a little bit) Fund.” More about that in a bit.