Thursday, September 4, 2008

Johnny D’s Adventures in the RedWood Forest

So the last two post and today’s post are short pieces that John Duke has sent to the radio station in Ely, Minnesota. John is a good friend who has worked for the summer in the Red Wood National Park. John is a veterinarian and for a few years had a practice in Atlanta’s south-side. He was never really happy doing this so he sold the clinic and moved to Ely. He works for either the Boy Scouts or for private companies as a guide. His usual gig would be to spend two weeks at a time guiding groups though lakes and trails from Canada to Ely. He also enrolled in classed at the local college and qualified for his current job in the Park. Knowing John and from these “tramissioms” I would say he is having the time of his life. He is doing something he truly loves. John is one of those people I was talking about who would love to be married and have family, but that’s not the way it has worked out for him and so he has found happiness in other means. This guy would be a great husband and father and I hope like hell one day he is, but til the time is right he doing something else he love’s. Check out this one.

This was my weekly report to WELY about 2 weeks ago:  Hello Ray, Do you
still read Dr. Seuss on the air? We have a book in our visitor’s center
called “The Lorax.” Wondering if you have read it. When they had
almost cleared off all the coastal redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens.
Semper means always, virens means living), the logging companies
unofficially boycotted Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax.” I bought it this week
and thought I might send it to you. Didn’t know Dr. Seuss could be so
controversial. The main character, Once-ler, says, “But those trees!
Those trees! Those Truffula Trees! All my life I’d been searching for
trees such as these. The touch of their tufts was much softer than
silk. And they had the sweet smell of fresh burtterfly milk. I felt a
great leaping of joy in my heart. I knew just what I’d do! I unloaded
my cart.” We get all kinds of visitors into the center to browse for
these books, or to get information, or to just see what we know. I’ll
try to describe two common visitors. The first is a guy named Ima Ina
Hurry. He would like for me to explain all the interesting features,
vistas, trees, and trails. By the way, he has all day. But he needs to
get to San Fran tonight. San Fran is 350 miles south. I look at my
watch. Its 3 o’clock in the afternoon. So I patiently point out all
the easy stuff on the map that he can catch along Hwy 101 on his way
down. I talk for about 8 minutes and he asks, “Anything else?” I say,
“Well, you see I have already taken your “time bag” and I have stuffed
it completely full. In fact, it is about to spill over. Have fun and
be safe.” (I think to myself, “I hope he doesn’t manage his money the
same way.”) The other visitor is a lady named Donna Botherme. She
walks in and refuses to make eye contact. I say, “Good morning!” She
mumbles something back without looking. We have the antidote for her.
Linda Davis, one of my roommates. Linda is retired from the Air Force
civilian service and is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She says, “Can
we help you with any information? We have a 12 minute film about the
redwoods. Would you like to see it? Where are you coming from? Which
way are you headed?” I mean Linda really wants everyone to not leave
without any info, even if they don’t want it. So when Ms. Botherme
doesn’t accept any of the proposals, Linda practically puts her in a
headlock with one arm and uses her yellow highlighter in the other hand
to mark up the official free park map. Ms. Botherme will usually say,
“Oh. Wow! I didn’t know. Thanks.” Have fun and be safe. jd

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