On gators, helicopters and cardboard balers


That rule I mentioned in my last column about trying to wait a week before writing a column about it? Yea, I’m throwing that out.

The week leading up to the Nov. 20 issue of Current was packed with a lot of different experiences that make the job special.

I received word that a teacher managed to bring in the best classroom visual aide ever. Brad Bill, the technology education teacher at Riverside Junior High, had a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter land on the school’s football field.

As the chopper moved closer to the ground, my coat started blowing around from its monstrous blades’ gusts. My name tag got knocked off my shirt. Benches were knocked over. It was an awesome experience for someone who grew up memorizing flash cards of aircraft. I used to be able to tell you if I was looking at an F-14, F-15, F-16 or F-18, but that was something like 17 years ago. My dad, an aviation nut, is completely to blame for that one.

The experience offered up some nice nostalgia. But, much to my irritation, I received a text message from Current’s Art Director, Zach Ross, who heard that the Super Target was on fire. I was getting ready to walk into Riverside.

All I knew was that it was on fire, and I had to make the judgment call of whether I should head to the Target or stay at the school. I made the right decision and stayed at the school. If I had known the whole story right off the bat, it wouldn’t have been any kind of dilemma.

Multi-million dollar military equipment is a lot more captivating than a cardboard baler fire. Don’t even try to argue with me. It could be the Rolls Royce of cardboard balers, and I would still take the Blackhawk. Every time.

As the week moved on, I had a chance to visit Reynolds Farm Equipment to chat with Michael Lawson about the 20th anniversary of its free lights show.

Lawson, one of the Reynolds’ grandchildren, carted me around, literally on a gator cart, to take an up close look at the display, and I’ve got to say I admired their ingenuity and holiday spirit, as well as the hospitality shown to me.

That and I got to ride on a gator.

I don’t think there’s anybody out there, besides me who can say that’s all in a day’s work. Besides other journalists, but we won’t count them.

Come to my coffee hours at Hearthstone Coffeehouse & Pub on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.


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