Tuesday, October 21, 2008


At Christmas Tree FarmI swear I'll stop with the mountain reports - just as soon as my bosses stop making me race to the craggier quadrant of Carolina. Not that I'm complaining. Okay, maybe I am - but I really have no reason to. After all, I could be babysitting a city budget meeting, or framing up some victim's picture in a high school yearbook. Instead, I spent much of the day strapped into the cockpit of my unmarked news unit, field testing inertia while enjoying some soothing tunes. Destination: damn near Tennessee. That's where the Chief Usher of the White House was scheduled to appear shortly after breakfast. Seems the leader of the free world wants a kick-ass Christmas tree and as we learned last year, that kind of thing can best be scored on the edge of the Appalachians.

Soooo, once again I saddled up before sunrise, backed out of my suburban driveway and hauled glass in a westerly direction. Along the way, I re-learned a valuable lesson: Slow the $#&@% down! See, I drive rather ... aggressively. It's a trait I inherited from my father and while I've mellowed quite a bit over the years, I'm still a leadfooted flatlander at heart. Combine those genetics with an approaching deadline and an old yearning for steering wheel cigarettes and you have a 'slinger on a mission. That's not so much a problem on the open interstate, but when the roadways more resemble a Roadrunner cartoon, perilous conditions can ensue. Thus, I should have seen that hairpin curve coming - as there were signs posted everywhere. I didn't. What I did do is drop a few choice words as the two lane blacktop I was churning into gravel suddenly fishtailed around the side of a mountain. I made it, barely. I white-knuckled it the rest of the way, knowing that while Ford Freestyles may not fly, they sure as hell do bounce.

Of course my near-plummet was all but forgotten by the time I rolled into River Ridge Tree farm. While there was no sign yet of the White House staff, there were a couple of dozen well-wishers on hand to witness the official evergreen selection. No sooner did I produce my fancycam than those good folks surrounded me and whipped our their own mini-lenses. What followed was a surreal, high altitude standoff in which the citizenry of greater Creston eyeballed the camera-fella. Just when things were about to get weird, they noticed the F(ox) Word on my fleece. Next thing I know, I'm being invited to family get-togethers and asked to pose for snapshots. Where those photos will end up I don't know, but when in Rome - shut yer piehole and chew with your mouth shut. Luckily, the White House staff pulled up about that time and my sudden celebrity wafted away like a mountain breeze. The rest of my time there was something of a blur and before I knew it I was back behind the wheel, navigating switchbacks and dreaming of my next trek uphill.

Which, with my luck, should be around Thursday.

1 comment:

Joel Leonard said...

Hope you are going to be able to join us at the Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll.

They have weighed all of the pumpkins to make sure that it is "Fair and Balanced"

And they are bring a shattered glass with 18 million cracks with Hillary's pumpkin underneath.

What is really amazing is that the kids are begging the physics teacher to help them optimize their catapult. A physics teacher that has to fill not create demand is definitely a rarity.

Oh stopped by the NC Workforce Conference and ran into your bud Patrick.