Lucky Man

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / erika8213

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / erika8213

Pulling into the parking lot piled high with snow at 4:00 a.m., Dane knew that those workers’ vehicles without four-wheel drive would never make it in or out of the valley safely. The park would be closed for the day. Dane called the dispatcher, and she reassured him that she would notify his four workers that plowing would commence the next morning, and they might as well just stay home today and wait out the storm. He knew they would be grateful for the call despite the abrupt, early-morning ring. 

Easing out of his Jeep, Dane arrived at his office, a simple, cozy 10-foot by 10-foot wood-paneled room at the end of six garage bays. His dog Ella leaped from the driver’s-side seat into a tall snow drift, hopped to the office door, and shook off the flakes. Dane keyed into the darkness and turned on a corner lamp that gave the room an orange glow. The gas-burning heater hissed quietly in the other corner, and Dane turned the knob a bit; its visible flames leapt as the heat came forth. Ella found her pillow near the heater and immediately settled in. Placing his briefcase on the desk, Dane fumbled with the filters and coffee until the brew was perking steadily. While he knew he should turn on the overhead light to let passersby know he was on the job, the atmosphere was so peaceful and the room lit so well, he wanted to savor the moment. As he gazed out the window at the piling snowfall, he murmured a prayer of thanks for allowing him to earn a living in a place he loved so much.

He called headquarters and let them know of his decision to shut the place down for the day. Everyone seemed to understand, and it appeared his peers had made similar decisions throughout the park district. He decided to complete his shift in case someone got stuck in the park, went off the road, or had some other emergency. At first light, he would drive through the parkway intersections and post barricades to prevent people from attempting the unplowed streets. Despite the warnings, he knew there would always be a chance-taker or two. For now, he simply needed to establish a presence, which he had done through his calls to the main office and dispatch. He finally turned on the overhead light. Ella snored softly from her pillow.  

The Company Of Friends

As if drawn by the light, someone immediately entered the office. Dane greeted Park Ranger Lieutenant, Sam Robbins, assigned to his zone for the past 3 years. Sam had a booming voice that matched his 6-foot, 5-inch frame, but he was as gentle as a puppy. Producing a foil-wrapped lump in his right hand, he smiled and said, “Coffee done yet, Daner? The wife sent blueberry muffins made just last night.” Dane returned the smile and motioned, “Come on in, Sammy—it’s almost ready.” He pulled two mostly clean mugs off the little shelf. “Sure is coming down,” said Sam as he removed his coat. “Man, that wife of yours sure can read my mind. I was thinking about blueberries.” Sam shook his head as he took a seat. “Ain’t much mind to read there, partner—you ask her for these muffins every time you talk to her.” Dane nodded. “Just the same.” 

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Connect The Dots
  2. Deja Vu For The Soul
  3. Successful Communication
  4. “Lead”ing The Discussion
  5. Pedaling Park Maintenance
  • Columns
  • Departments