Sunday, October 14, 2007

Walt said it best ... It's a Small World After All -- A Yellow Flag/Postal Tale

Come on admit it, you're humming that song right now aren't you? Especially, you WordVixen since you love all things Disney.

Today is the day after the big Halloween carnival at the school where me wife teaches, VOLUNTEERS, and where my boys attend. Which means when she climbs out of bed today, after putting in something close to 40 hours of labor the last three days I will once again have me wife back. I'm not even going to add up the hours she has put in over the last four or five weeks. Who knows she might even post a new blog over at her site?

Since Purdue Boilermaker ultra-fan, Phats was wondering about a new edition of the Yellow Flag Tales and several people have suggested I need to blog about the good Ol' United States Postal Service I'm going to do both today. All in one glorious story. Okay, glorious might be getting carried away. How about mildly interesting story?

Now I'm a pretty big guy, so anytime something heavy needs moved or lifted, I'm often recruited for the task. So several years back the fellow who is in charge of maintenance at all the small post offices here in the Texas Panhandle needed a bit of help moving a safe up in the small town of Follett, Texas.

So me and Wayne load up in the Postal owned stake-bed truck, which looks something like this and take off for the 150 mile trip to Follett. Now Wayne is a nice guy but not the most thrilling of storytellers. He is one of those guys that takes a three or four minute tale and stretches it to fifteen. Also, he normally travels and does his work alone, so on the rare occasions when he has company he makes the most of it. I'd been with him before so I'd already heard his best takes, however that did not stop him from telling them to me again.

A couple of hours in my eyelids were getting heavy, but every time my head began to list forward Wayne would increase his volume and say something like, "You know what I mean" to wake me back up.

So I was barely paying attention when he announced, "Boy I sure hope we have enough gas to get there." This became a reoccurring theme as he said the same thing about every other minute. Now in Wayne's defense the stake-bed wasn't his normal vehicle. He usually drove a large maintenance van, but we'd needed the large bed to take along some extra tools.

The road leading into Follett is quite hilly and we just happened to be about halfway up one of those hills when the truck sputtered, shuttered and stalled. Our momentum carried us up over the that hill and gravity carried down to the bottom of the next one as Wayne tried fruitlessly to recrank the fuel less engine. Then he said, "If only we could make it over this next hill we could drift into town."

Doing my best Luke Duke impression, I opened my door and hopped out of the still rolling vehicle. I figured I could push the big thing since it was already moving, but I knew that once it stopped it would take me and three mules to ever get the thing rolling again.

Now I'm not the most graceful of fellas so my maneuvers where mighty ugly but I manged to get back behind the truck and start pushing up hill without falling or otherwise injuring myself.
And we made it to the top even though I was huffing and puffing like an asthmatic chain-smoker. Then gravity took back over and I had to race back up to the passenger seat open the door and hop back into the moving truck.
Wayne lied. We drifted down that hill up another small one and down again and still there wasn't hide nor hair of the metropolis, Follett. (Population less than 500.)
We rolled until we came to the base of another steep hill at which point Wayne said. This must be that last hill. Seeing as to how I still couldn't breathe I said, "Maybe so, but I'm done pushing."

We parked grabbed a gas can out of the back and commenced to walking. Turns out town was still a solid mile away. By the time we hit the city limits it was lunch time and as we passed by the high school students were pouring out of the parking lot on their way down to the local convenience store for a fried burrito or chimichanga or corndog or some other deep fired delicacy. As Two strange men walking through a small town with a gas tank, we drew a lot of stares, and a few offers for a ride but at that point the gas station was only a block away, but we did get a ride back out to the truck after filling our gas can..

That would be the end of the story, except this was a Thursday and guess where I was scheduled to ref a varsity football game come Friday night? Nope not Follett. My schedule read Silverton Texas versus the Valley Patriots @ Silverton.

But ... I had a message on my answering machine when I got home that evening, From the secretary of the ref association. Wanting me to switch with so and so because he couldn't make it to his game on Friday night in time. Where was this other game? You called it, Follett, Texas.

So the very next day I made the same 150 mile trip to Follett, with plenty of gas to spare I might add. Decked out in my black and white stripes I pulled my black hat down low and walked out to the middle of the field for the opening coin toss.

One of the Follett Panthers captains frowned and stared at me a second and then his first words were, "Hey weren't you that guy who ran out of gas yesterday." So much for a lucky break.

And the first time I got near the Follett sideline this gem came from the coach, "Guess it's too much to ask from a guy to see the other team holding when he can't even see far enough to read his gas gage."

I turned away from that coach with one thought on my mind. Thanks Wayne.


angel, jr. said...

Wow--what a coincidence.
You're only suppose to run out of gas on a first date.

Angie said...

LOL! Sometimes you just want to give the universe a really huge wedgie or something. :P


aka_Meritt said...

I'm so glad you stopped in to my blog because I was able to find you and read this one! :)

So - 150 miles just to ref? OMG can they not find a closer ref? That's crazy. LOL.

Katrina said...

And just when we think things can't get any worse they do!

Phats said...

HAHA that's hilarious I loved this story!! I love that the coach said that to you as well too funny.

Now I need to get small world out of my head. Oh yeah I sent you an email ;)

Bluefingers said...

It's a world of laughter a world of tears, a world of hope and a world of fears, no matter how much we give up or pay our taxes its a damned world after all...It's a damned world after all.. Come on..join me for the chorus...

Travis, thanks for making me laugh so hard I think I through another blood clot.

Your my favorite story teller..


WordVixen said...

Travis... well, it was stuck in my head, till I read BlueFinger's comment. Now that's stuck in my head. And we're planning our next trip. :)

Patti said...

i love how life turns like this...

Tee said...

LOL! This is why one must have a sense of humor ;)

By the way - I tagged you with a meme. Let me know if you decide to do it!

Charles Gramlich said...

The amazing thing is you pushed it up one hill.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


You do live quite the life!!

After you reach fame and fortune by writing fiction, you might want to think about publishing humorous essays.


Travis Erwin said...

Angel - NEver ran out of gas on a date but I did once get stuck in the mud in a bar ditch

Angie - That would leave one nasty, and tough stain to get out.

aka - The Texas Panhandle is on the sparse and large side.

Katrina - I never say, things can't get any worse but I did write a short story about their very saying one time.

phats - coaches are full of love for refs

bluefingers - Glad I could amuse you but don't try and blame your feable health on me. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You need to eat more meat. Iron is good for you.

wordvixen - see how many hidden mickey's you can find on its a small world and report back to me. When I go back next October I'll see if I can best you.

patti- I got one word Karma.

Tee- that is one strange meme but I'm one strange guy so of course I'll do it. Might be a week or so though.

Charles- Hills are realtive and my part of Texas is known for its flatness. And I never coudl have done it had the truck not still been rolling and even at that I helped it along more than pushed it over on my strength.

Terrie- YOu ain't jsut whistling Dixie I do. Of course many of the stories I tale are from years back. I've just had them stockpiled in case I ever started a blog.

Dawn said...

Damn you, Travis! Now I'm stuck for the rest of the day with this image of a large hairy man trying to clamber out of the window of a moving truck! ( I know you didn't say you went out the window but that's the image I've got. I tell you - it's not pretty!)

Shauna said...

LOL! Gotta love the "Waynes" of this world. They sure make things interesting. LOL!

Ello said...

That is a great story, and you wrote it so well!

WordVixen said...

It's a deal! I'll have to put that on my "don't forget to" list.