As a grizzled government employee, I’ve learned to find the small blessings in public servanthood (it was either that or all the paperwork would have crushed my will to roll out of bed). Yes, every morning, after the third snooze alarm sounds, I arise, dive into various and sundry garbs, land in my boots, and depart to do the government’s work.
As a soil conservationist, I get paid just a grade above diddly squat, so I have to focus on other job perks to stay motivated, namely my relationship with my dear and loving county truck. Admittedly, the county truck isn’t without faults, which is why it’s kept incarcerated in a fenced-in parking lot, though the fence has failed to protect everyone and could probably use a second strand of barb wire across the top. A few years ago, some poor thief stole the truck, only to be quickly apprehended by a sheriff’s deputy. Rumor has it that the thief called 911 and requested help for fear the truck was about to explode.
I’ve only had a few life threatening incidents in the fifty thousand miles I’ve put on the truck in eight years. That’s a pretty good track record considering that entering a driveway plastered in no trespassing signs in a government vehicle can be hazardous to your health. Once they realize it’s just me, most farmers put the shotgun away or at least put the safety back on. Sometimes they climb in the truck with me, and we traverse their farms so I can prescribe government-sanctioned farming advice for their eroded areas. “When’s the county going to buy you a new truck? These shocks are beat,” they say, usually after the third or fourth time their head smacks the roof.
But the truth is I like my county truck. Visiting farms is the best part of my job, and most of the time the truck gets me there. More importantly, it has a first-rate antenna that can pick up the Charlotte sports radio station even in the deep hollers. There’s hardly a county road I haven’t traveled in that truck listening to sports radio. Last week, when I actually stumbled upon a road I hadn’t traveled, I got excited. And this brings me to the point of all this rambling: You know you’re getting old when discovering a country road untraveled makes your day (or possibly your week depending on the height of the paperwork stacked on your desk).