My father worked for the federal government for 30 years. He was a soil scientist. A mapper. He knew, and still knows, how to do everything.
He’s very careful. Thorough. Precise. Measure twice. Cut once.
He can pack a car for a trip or moving day like blocks in a Jenga game before anyone makes a move.
His branch was soil and water. Conservation. Brushing your teeth with the water running? Forget it. Dad was on it.
For years my brother, sister and I turned in the same science project at school “How Acid is Our Precipitation?” It was really only done ONCE and then recycled for years after that by the three of us. The only thing that varied were the test results. Because that was my Dad’s thing we really did take samples to see if what was falling out of the sky was sorta bad, bad, or very bad for us. One of our teachers finally noticed this science experiment pattern and maybe it was my sister who finally had to come up with something new.
When we would travel, as kids, my family had a giant green station wagon.
We called it the big green oven. Or my brother did~ because it had little or no AC and it was hot as hell in the summer when we travelled down south.
We took turns making my sister sit on the sunny side of the car. She was youngest and didn’t know any better. We gave her a coloring book and let her sweat.
My father was/is very patient but sometimes traveling we would get lost and instead of asking for directions Dad would roll the windows down on the big green oven like the universe was going to give him an answer. Which it never did.
All we really wanted at that moment were small hamburgers from McDonalds and soda. And an answer. Which never came.
Because my dad worked for the government everything in his office was green.
Army green. Green like at a moment’s notice you might have to hide. From your boss. Or the post office people downstairs.
His office was large. Institutional. With drawing tables and lights and chairs that spun all the way around. Everything matched. Green.
When he went out mapping my Dad carried a snake bite kit. Its a very cool thing if your Dad is instructed to carry a snake bite kit with him to work. A dangerous mission. I imagined my father battling snakes in the afternoon before dinner.
My Dad never got lost when he was mapping. He talked to farmers and he knew where all the rivers and streams were in our county. He loved being outside.
He said that was the reason he became a soil scientist. It’s better outside.
I think being outside is best. And my favorite color is green.