Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turn, Burn, Light, Ignite

I mentioned earlier I have been involved with a rural carrier substitute training class this week. I am looking forward to getting back to my route tomorrow as I am not cut out for eight hour inside work.

There were twelve adults in our class, one being a retired Kansas Highway Patrolman. He was a joy in that he kept us all on our toes and laughing with his sharp wit. The discussion was mail delivery. He informed us it would be no trouble for him to quickly deliver the mail. He would just turn, burn, light, ignite.

As I drive I 70 and see a KHP in the rear view mirror quickly cut across the median, rather than tense with quilty fear, I will now laugh at the thought of these four words so accurately describing his maneuver...I hope.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Carry on, Friends

I am serving a three-year assignment as a trainer. It is an ad hoc position amounting to less than a week every other month. Six years ago I also spent a five-year stint doing the same work.

Some of my co-workers would say this is not work, especially when my turn to do the training is during a extremely hot or cold time.. Actually, it is work. I am more exhausted at the end of a training day than a mail delivery day. Maybe my mind needs more exercise.

The best and most exciting aspect of this small job, though, is meeting the people from all over the state who come to be trained. Their enthusiasm for the new job is exciting and uplifting. They are eager to learn and full of questions. It makes it easy to uphold my end of the assignment. In the end, they generate a renewed appreciation for my job. Just what I need at this busy and colder time of year.

Carry on friends.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Listen to the trees scream

The road crews are out trimming trees on the route. I know it is necessary having been through an ice storm and without electricity for a week. Keeping the high lines clear and brush back from roads to help with snow removal is good but still, butchering trees along country roads does not make me happy.

Butchering is a strong word, but it seems that is how some of the trees are treated. Sometimes the line runs down the middle of the tree so a huge gap is cut leaving branches on each side. Perhaps the tree trimming company feels that from some vantage points the tree still looks normal. I am not sure where that point would be.

Today as I left the post office, the sun was sliding down in the west and its glow was on a beautiful red maple by the old Grange building. I admired its beauty and then realized there was only half a tree. The entire back (east ) side was gone because of a electrical line. We have a friend who told the crew to cut his tree down rather than hack it into ugliness.

The worst, though, is when the county comes by with their huge rotary cutter. It is like a grass cutter, but larger and more powerful. They run it along the sides of the trees and "trim" them from along the road. The cuts are as if someone twisted branches off and left a torn, jagged stump. I have a friend who says she cannot watch that machine because she feels she can hear the trees scream.

My compliments to the crew along one of the more heavily traveled roads in the area. They had a chain saw carefully trimming limbs, cutting the largest into firewood and piling it by the road. The trees were quiet.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: Our friends, Barb & Darrell, Missouri wines (especially the Norton), the friendly Hermann area people, the Missouri River valley peak autumn colors (click on picture of better view)

The Bad: The cold rain during entire Kansas State University vs. University of Missouri football game in Columbia yesterday

The Ugly: The score of that same game