... or how David carried Grandma May's last jar of watermelon pickles -- her one thousand, six hundred and thirty-third -- from Big Loop, West Virginia to Jericho, California... and dropped it in the excitement of seeing his father again. That's the size of it, a nostalgic anecdote like a chapter out of Elizabeth Coatsworth -- except that the time is now (or almost-1965) and David's journey, begun by mule-drawn wagon and cable-drawn fled, becomes a transcontinental plane trip. And while a taste for Grandma's pickles isn't archaic, the little settlement of Big Loop and its little old coal mine are, and so's the folksy-robot tenor of the text ("David's father wasn't lazy. David's uncle wasn't lazy. Nor was there a lazy bone in the body of his Grandfather Ben"). Accentuating this aspect are Leonard Weisgrad's illustrations, hardly more contemporary than those he once did for The Courage of Sarah Noble. Pleasant enough doings, however, if you're willing to indulge a boy so engrossed in the pickles-he's carrying to his father that he doesn't give the cars he's never seen a second glance.