Thursday, October 01, 2009

Rocking the Road

'Twas brillig and my slithy toves have been gyring and gimboling all over my effing wabe. Which is to say, it's been a warm fall day with sunshine and good air quality. I was a bit worried first thing this morning since the Smoky's signature fog enveloped the house and my rocks were coming today. But the sun burned off the low cloud ceiling and the day bloomed.

The foggy morning provided some foreshadowing. It would have been more obvious with a foreboding soundtrack. I get the call the rocks are on the way and I hop in the jeep to make my way down the mountain to meet the truck. I meet the truck down at the Pigeon River Smokehouse and lead the 25 ton truck gleefully up the mountain. A girl has never been more ready for her rocks.

We get to the house and I pay the man--we'll call him "Daryl" (not his real name)--and tell him where to start dumping the rocks. The concern all along was how far one 20 ton load would spread. It's a pretty long road. I tell him about the clayey bits right in the middle. He tells me a couple of times that he ran the truck off the mountain when his brakes went out last week. But there wasn't any harm done. Yeah, yeah--let's get to spreading some rock--I swear I'm like a second grader with one of those tapes of big trucks, just so thrilled to have this manly bit of machinery on my property. I'm such a sucker for big tractors and earth haulers. Daryl's not nearly as decorative as the road scraper guy--but hey! He's got rocks and lots of 'em. He asks me if I have any transmission or steering fluid--but I don't since I get all that stuff done in town. Still, I'm not hearing the scary music that surely must be playing.

Have you seen one of these things in action up close? It's awesome! The container part of it rears up like a freaking tyranasaurus rex all hydraulics hissing and snapping. The rocks come out of it as he drives this monster down my road--they fall like hot, noisy pudding completely covering the road. And he keeps going. Daryl rocks my entire road--that we were thinking would take two loads--in one smooth stretch of giant rock truck driving genius. I'm so impressed, I'm thinking, Daryl--you totally rock, buddy!

He disappears around the curve and I get in the jeep to catch him so I may praise his masterful application of gravel. When I get to the foot of the road, the truck is there. With a tree-sized limb jambed between the now stuck truck bed. Evidently, Daryl forgot to take note of the great whopping buckeye when he drove in and took off a sizable portion of said tree.

"Oops. That's gonna need a chainsaw," I say.

"You got one?"

"Yeah, but it won't start. Haven't taken it into Dean's yet this season."

We stare at the tree a while.

"It hit the cab."

"Yeah, but you did a fabulous job rocking the road," I say. I hate this for him. The rear glass is out of the cab and it's got a big ding.

He gets in the jeep and I drive back to the house. I call his office for him, and I can see he's relieved I'm doing the calling. And his dispatcher is a bit peeved, I can tell. I give them directions and tell them to bring a chain saw.

"Can't he just push it out of the way?"

"Well, no," I say, "the limb is as big as my thigh and I got pretty big thighs. It's a tree shaped limb."

I hear her telling someone in the office what has happened. Peeved. Really peeved.

"But he did a wonderful job with the road. A better job of dumping out rocks, I have never seen. Really."

So, I'm looking at the pretty white rocks stretching down my road and thinking about Daryl. Hoping he doesn't take too much flack for the unfortunate dump truck vs. tree accident. Guess somebody's going to need to reset the "We have gone ___ days without an accident!" sign.


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