Yesterday I drove past the local supermarket and the kids with the hoses were out. You know the ones. The girls with the short-shorts and the hand lettered signs. The whole class had turned out for this one–eighth graders with parent-moms in charge.
They had the guys doing the initial hose down, spraying themselves and the girls on the other side of the car with abandon–some water actually hit the car.
Then you drove a little farther and the soapers took over. Big sponges, heavy duty scrubbers, really putting some muscle in it. A couple of step ladders so they could reach the top–these are eighth grades, remember, still getting their tall on.
A rinse down, and then the towel work. They had a big blue tarp set up to air dry the towels, but with the cars coming hot and heavy, the towels didn’t get a chance to lose much moisture. Two girls, one on either side of the windshield, moving that towel back and forth like they were polishing the toe of a boot.
Then the finish. Hand polishing the mirrors, with bottles of windex in one hand and (damp) paper towels in the other.
They were hard workers, but cheerful, enjoying the spring sunshine and the chance to play in the water.
I smiled as I reached the end of the line and doubled the donation I had planned to give. A great way to start a weekend; I felt energized for the rest of the day.
Maybe we all need to approach work like the kids with the hoses.
I woke this morning thinking I heard quail, and that was patently impossible, because I was surrounded by dozens of parked semi-trucks beside my motel, miles and miles of freeway on the other side, and a room three stories up. But I awoke thinking I heard the quail.
I had driven from my little town to Phoenix for the weekend. These communities are less than a hundred miles apart, but at the same time, are places that belong to different worlds: Phoenix-metro has about three million people; my little town about fifteen thousand. In my town right now the iris and forsythia are blooming; in Phoenix, the palo verde trees have turned a brilliant gold and the ironwood trees are a filagreed lavender.
Did I mention the traffic? We have only four-lane roads in my little town, and not too many of those. Phoenix has hundreds of miles of ten-lane freeways, as evidenced by the sooty residue on my car’s windshield this morning.
And money! We don’t have a lot here; WalMart is our big time shopping adventure. Scottsdale, on the edge of Phoenix has Neiman Marcus, a dedicated Mont Blanc shop, and the newest of Tesla showrooms.
Churches, too. I visited a Phoenix church this morning boasting a magnificent choir, acres of stained glass windows, and a membership approaching five thousand. The little church I often frequent in my home town has maybe two hundred members in attendance on a good Sunday—say, Easter.
Both places are important to me, for different reasons. I like to visit Phoenix, because it gives me perspective on my problems and goals and adventures. Somehow ninety miles from home I can see clearly what I cannot envision up close and personal in my easy chair.
I need, not the affluence of the metropolitan area, but rather the contrast of differences, the ability to say, oh! there is another world out there, not better or worse, but unique in its own way. I am not alone in my searching.
And this afternoon, when I came back, a cardinal singing in the crepe myrtle welcomed me home. A good journey, indeed!