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Friday, March 19, 2010

Stand Up and Be Counted

Tualco Valley

The fog has burned off; the sun is out; it is a brisk morning. Gladys and I head down Valley. Shortly into the ride,I see a cyclist laboring towards us and I recognize my environmentally sensitive friend Nancy L. As we pass, I ask her which way she’s going, a ridiculous question now I think about it: she was going the opposite direction. We are both out for the exercise, serious business and no time to stop and chit chat. That’s what email is for. I continue on my way; she, hers.

Swiss Hall is undergoing a facelift: a new front porch. The old one had rotted off, I guess. I had talked to the carpenter the day before. It was a three day job, he said. I wanted to see how the job had progressed.Swiss Hall Facelift Nothing had changed. The carpenter was not present.

Almost to Andy Werkhoven’s house I hear a plaintive “Slow down” behind me. It is Nancy L trying her best to catch the speeding Gladys, who is in second gear, as always, and on cruise control. Now Nancy’s bike is too sleek and shiny to name. It has so many gear sprockets a Kenworth truck would be envious. With all those gears Nancy should be able to reach liftoff speed. I leave cruise control, coast, and allow her to catch up. We continue our ride to the south end of Sky Valley Driving range where Nancy has parked her car and plans to load her bike.

A county road crew is finishing up a four month paving project—a fifteen foot stretch of pavement to repair a sinkhole in the right hand lane. I offer a bit of friendly criticism: bring the patch up to road level. My superintending is interrupted by the arrival of a county truck filled with asphalt to fill the patch. Imagine, a county crew who can read my mind.

This road less traveled suddenly becomes congested when a blue Ford Taurus,  yellow light flashing from the roof, approaches the work site. It is our Valley mailman on his morning route. To my surprise, Nancy L frantically waves him to a stop. I’m wondering what issue she has with him: she has a post office box in town. (On the other hand, we have had problems with the neighbors’ mail being delivered to our mailbox, an oversight possibly caused by our two addresses having most of the same numbers, although not in the same order. We called the post office. The oversights stopped. )

No, Nancy’s issue is with the U.S. Postal Service in general and our carrier has to field her concern: the Parker household has not received its official 2010 Census. It should have arrived last week as did ours. No Census for the Parkers. Not even the formal letter sent a week earlier informing U.S. citizens they would receive the Census the following week. As I didn’t want to leave the county crew to their own devices, my attention was divided, so I’m not sure how the conversation went. There was considerable gesturing on the part of both parties; the blue rubber-gloved hand of the mailman appeared to be holding its own.

Good luck, Nancy L. Stand up and be counted. And even if the 2010 U.S. Census does not want you counted, in my book you count a lot.

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