Monday, July 26, 2010

A few thoughts for the week

I understand that a few of you have been following my ramblings for quite a bit of the five months Kris and I have lived here, so you know that I have been spending a fair amount of my time comparing Port Gamble to other towns (especially Port Angeles, where we came from), comparing big cities to small towns, and describing the "ultimate" small town, Port Gamble. This week I had some incidents that touched on all three, and ultimately proved what a difficult chore I have before me, convincing you that I live in the best place for all.

First, early in the week I met a man who could only be referred to as a "master craftsman", one of those individuals who must be doing what he likes to be doing, because only someone who loves his work would do it so well. He was truly a professional in his field, highly skilled, well educated in his work, and frankly proud of his exploits, proud of the many people he has worked for who thank him profusely.

Is he a highly skilled   surgeon? No.   A carpenter who crafts some of those buildings which seem so beautiful to those of us who can't afford them? No. Well what then, a car mechanic who can fine tune an engine to get the most horsepower and least emission from it, while stirring up more horsepower than it was ever designed to produce? No, but that would be good. No, this man delivers gravel.

I've really done it now, Ollie.

"He delivers gravel?" I hear you say as you reach for the mouse that's been waiting to be pounced on.

You may have to hear me out, because it's people like this that are changing my perspective. This gentleman works in one of the large towns that surround  our suburb of a small town, and because it's a large town, he delivers gravel ... and nothing else. No, the company is big enough to have their own cement truck drivers, their own bark deliverers, but he delivers gravel.

You and I would be bored, right? Climbing the walls from our third load on. So why not him? Because he has taken it upon himself to be the BEST at what he does, and I believe him. The gravel he was bringing was to help build a parking lot, which someday might get paved, but not now. You should have seen him.

He backed the truck up (I can hear Tim, the Toolman Taylor, saying that to Al, finishing with his "Whoh! Whoh! Whoh!" to signify this guy is good.), he raised the bed to just the right angle to get the most pressure he could on the gravel without "spitting" it out, and then the real tricky part. In one motion he popped the clutch to get the truck immediately up to speed, he opened the gate on the bed so the gravel would come flying out,  and he kept that truck at exactly  the same speed the whole length of the new parking lot to make sure the thickness of the final product was the same from one end to the other ... and that was what was so glorious... it was exactly the same thickness in every load he brought, front to back, side to side.

And when he jumped out of the drivers seat and I said "Wow, that was incredible", he beamed with pride, because HE knew it, but wasn't sure anyone else did.

What's this got to do with anything? So what if he's a good truck driver? Give a thought to this. Because he worked for a big outfit in a big town, there was no time for him to be doing anything else. Sure, there was bark to be delivered, but there was one man to do that too. If he worked in a small town he might have other things to do, other deliveries to make, other floors to sweep, but he didn't. He worked in a big town so he had one job to do, and did it better than you or I could imagine it could be done.

So the conclusion. Can we just say that some people flourish better than others under the pressures of a big city? So let's not go too far and claim that big cities provide an opportunity for ALL people to do their best, just some people ... including at least one gravel truck driver.

Incident number two.

I've developed a wonderful relationship with the director of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce after she flattered me with some nice thoughts about my "Fourth of July" blog, which she sent to all her board members, as well as a local newspaper. The "good relationship" means that she sends me (just about every day) announcements about coming events in the thriving metropolis of Kingston. And I reciprocate in this warm relationship by ... reading them.

Last night (Saturday) I knew was concert on the waterfront night,because it was Saturday and we were near the waterfront, and we heard The King. Yes, just as I might be accused of seeing ghosts in Port Gamble, you could accuse me of seeing The King, Elvis, in Kingston. As we were nearing the driveway that seems to loop around the stage, you could have seen me nearly falling out of our car as Elvis looked my way and I made a fool of myself by waving at him. I didn't notice (Kris did) but we never made eye contact so I'm not sure he knew his biggest fan was there. I'm sure a lot of the girls there thought he saw THEM, but I doubt that he did, since he didn't notice me.

But how does Kingston do it? The place was packed, but not uncomfortably so, we could stand at the back and see with no problem, the weather was WARM, the beers were being served without yelling, and I'm sure every grandparent in the county was there to see that man who has been hiding away while their kids have been growing up.

I like my Port Gamble, but this Kingston is starting to look nicer ... and cleaner ... than it did when I saw it on the fourth. Kris and I are thinking of going to The Oak Table for breakfast tomorrow. That's a restaurant that started in Sequim and now has a branch in Kingston, one which we visit when we feel just a touch of homesickness...

And finally. There's a lot to do here. I've told you that. And frankly I haven't had time to do everything, but there is one event that I hope I'll have time for. Sean came back last Tuesday evening from a kayak sunset cruise around the area, which he said he totally enjoyed. It provided a look at a fish hatchery, loads of otters following them, a gorgeous sunset and new friends to go with another time. I had planned to go, but had to beg off at the last minute. Next time I won't!!! Sponsored by the Olympic Outdoor Center, other evenings start in other locations, but I'm partial to the one in Port Gamble (every Tuesday). No experience necessary! And they provide EVERYTHING you need. Call them at 360-297-4659. What did they pay me to say this? NOTHING. It's one of those things the locals do and we have so much fun we forget to tell others. But I'm telling you ... it's a kick (and John makes sure it's safe).

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Keep writing!!!