Thursday, October 13, 2011

Part Time Employment

Earlier this year two ladies in our cul-de-sac were expecting. Their due dates was a week apart. When you get to be my age it is really fun to be surrounded by young families with young children so I was pretty happy. So happy that for a portion of the summer I agreed to work part time as a census taker.

One day a sign ‘mysteriously’ appeared at the entrance of our cul-de-sac. It was in the yard of one of the pregnant women. The husband who lives there pulled into the cul-de-sac that night hopped out of his truck and marched over to look at the sign in yard. He threw his hands on his hips and muttered something like, “What the . . . .?” He stood there for a few minutes staring at the sign repeating aloud, “Who would do that? What’s that about?” I was in the front yard when he came marching over (yes marching, he was on mission). He looked at me and asked if I knew what the sign was about. I told him I had seen it earlier in the day and after thinking about it as near as I could tell it was the population of our cul-de-sac. We took a few minutes and mentally worked our way from house to house. Four people lived here, two people lived there . . . yep, it came out to 18. Then my neighbor pointed out it didn’t include his eldest daughter who lives at home part time. I agreed with him but also pointed out the ½ might confuse people. Then he asked, “But who would put that sign in my yard?” That’s when I bent down and started to pull weeds. My neighbor stormed off to get another look at the sign. Suddenly he turned around and with both hands on his hips, determined to resolve the issue asked if I was the one who put the sign in his yard. I looked at him and said, “I did not make that sign.” He started to storm off then stopped and came back over, “I didn’t ask if you made it. I asked if you put it in my yard.” Well, it was the moment of truth. I stood up and told the truth, “Yeah. Yeah I’m the one that put it in your yard.” Suddenly he relaxed and the tension was gone. I went on to explain to him that I had accepted a job as a part time census taker for the cul-de-sac. As our numbers increased it was my job to update the sign. My good neighbor then walked over looked at the sign and started to laugh.

Over the next few weeks people would walk by or drive by looking at the sign. They would either get a puzzled look on their face or burst out laughing. The sign stayed as is for about a week.

Then we had a chance. Our numbers increased. The lady whose yard the sign was in gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Mom was doing well, the baby was doing well, and as stated earlier, at my age another baby to spoil and play with is just pure joy so I updated the sign.

It was fun to watch as people went by. The ones walking by would see the sign and smile. Some even clapped. People driving by would slow down and look at the sign. One person stuck his hand out the window and waved, another honked her horn a few times.

But my job was not complete. A few days later our cul-de-sac was blessed with another little girl. My job, as census taker, was to update the sign. Again people walked by and smiled, cars slowed down and people either smiled or honked.

I left the sign up for about a week after both births wondering how something as simple as a little sign could bring so much joy to that many people. I concluded it’s one of those things we will never know until we get to heaven.

A week after both of the births I took the sign down. It was time to go back into retirement.


Blogger Peruby said...

What a wonderful story.

Speaking of signs... my Mom didn't like it, but on her 80th we put a big sign in front of her yard saying "Honk to wish Her Name a Happy 80th birthday!"

Our family is quite large and we just got a kick out of all the honking that went on that day. Some cars started honking many feet away and kept the honking long after they passed the house. It was great!

Signs can do amazing things.

We just welcomed a brand new baby boy into my nephew's family. Sweet times.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

I am going to share this story with my daughter. Their family lives on a cul-de-sac with a booming population and this should be a lot of fun. I guess I'm a bit confused about why the neighbor was so angry in the beginning. Perhaps your sign word needed a little more professionalism. Just sayin'.....

9:09 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

What a fun idea, one that brought smiles to so many people. :0)

1:49 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Good Job Ralph!!!
I am believing that you would do a thing like this BIG TIME. It is worth many smiles now.

I took summer job with the Census Bureau in 1980. The neighborhood they gave me was so sparse that I didn't even make minimum wage.

3:46 AM  

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