I know. Doesn’t sound so glamorous on the surface, but let me fill in a few details for you. First of all, the route was … the beach. Back before Hurricane Ike there used to be trash receptacles spaced at intervals all along the beach on the East End of the Island. Secondly, it was what we did to make it bearable that made it a truly memorable experience. (Disclaimer: don’t try this at home. Or on the beach. These actions are neither sanctioned nor encouraged by the author or editors. Come on, you can be more creative than this anyway). See, we started work at five in the morning. We had been issued the two oldest dump trucks in the city fleet. Of course the city didn’t want to waste new trucks on the beach where they would get corroded much earlier. That’s real dump trucks, mind you. None of those new-fangled things with the robotic arms that pick up cans so you only have to hire a driver. We had to have three guys on each crew: one to drive, one to pick up the can and toss it into the truck, and the other to stand in the back of the truck, dump the can and toss it back to the ground, where number two would stand it upright. Not many people were on the beach soaking up rays at that time of day, so we would empty our first few cans each and then meet up with the other truck for our “break time.” That was when we got really creative.
Our favorite game (Yes, we had several, but none as much fun as this one) was, in Josh’s words, a jousting match. We lined up the trucks facing each other a few hundred yards apart. Then we drove straight at each other, veering off at the last second. Meanwhile, the two other crew members were in the back of the truck. One gathered together all the perishable food stuffs (ie. Tomatoes, bananas, watermelon rinds, fried chicken bones, etc.). The other was the key player in the drama. As the trucks veered apart, the number three men would pelt each other with garbage. My number three guy (I was a driver) was the shortstop of the high school team, so he had quite a strong arm. No one much enjoyed going up against ol’ Joe. Of course it was Ol’ Joe who caused us to have to stop that particular contest of skill.
One day he tossed a grapefruit that wasn’t quite as rotten as he thought. His aim wasn’t quite as good as it might have been with a baseball, either. He threw it too early and instead of hitting his opponent, it crashed into the windshield and broke it. I heard the story he told our boss when he came out to check on us (Of course they checked on us every so often. You don’t think they would just turn high school kids loose with trucks and free reign of the beach, do you? They could be … destructive). He insisted that he was just tossing a piece of driftwood into the back of the truck and didn’t quite have enough strength to get it all the way over the cab. Did I mention this was the shortstop – the guy with the strongest throwing arm on the team? Fortunately for Joe our boss wasn’t much of a baseball fan.
Josh didn’t share all those details with the crowd, though. He was apparently pressed for time. At least that’s what he told them at one point. Of course he had to admit that he wasn’t really sure what time it was, because he didn’t know how to read the clock on the wall. Sigh. That’s one of our failures as home school parents. Josh never did learn how to read a clock unless it’s digital. That disappointment turned out to be inspirational to Zak, though. As the joy of coincidence would have it, his school lesson for the next day was how to tell time on an antique clock – with hands and numbers in a circle and counting by fives. I’m praying Christi’s lesson sinks in better than our attempts.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Father, thank you for the time gift you have given us this week to be with family. Amen.