monique

Woolgathering
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2002-02-05 12:12:57 (UTC)

The White Rocks

When we went to town on Sunday we noticed that the white
rocks had been moved again. I can't remember if I've talked
about these rocks before. If I have, please forgive me.

First, some background. I live in a small town. A very
small town. A village, actually. The population is less
than 700 souls. The problem is that the town thinks of
itself as much bigger. We have a city hall, at least five
city pickup trucks and seven full time city employees or
more. The employees are well paid with full benefits. That
seems excessive to me. There are at least two employees,
sometimes three, who work at city hall. What do all these
employees do all day? I don't have a clue.

Now before you suggest that I could go to city council
meetings and find out I want to tell you that when we moved
to town, John made me promise him two things. One was to
keep out of city politics. (The other was not to run for the
school board.) City politics has gotten ugly at times.
There have arguments which have come close to becoming fist
fights during meetings. There are family feuds going back
for years caused by what someone said or did at a city
council meeting. Lawsuits have been filed and counter
filed. Ugly. Just ugly.

Back to the white rocks. Some city employee, I guess
bored and with nothing else to do, came up with the idea of
painting some large white rocks and arranging them to spell
the name of the town on a background of bark in the
city park. Not only did the city council like this idea,
they gave the employee an award for coming up with it! For
what? Most creative way to waste taxpayers' money? Best
inane idea of the year? Don't know the answer to that
either.

So there sat the rocks. Until one day last summer someone
had changed the rocks to spell *HELP!* We are about 30
miles from a large airport and many commercial airliners
flying in or out of the airport fly right over us (although
they are still high enough not to cause us much noise
problems). I thought this was funny. The next day the rocks
had been moved back to spell the name of the town. The
following month the city newsletter had a terse little
article stating that they would *prosecute to the fullest
extent of the law whoever had tampered with the rocks*
Tampered? They would file charges of vandalism and criminal
mischief, they threatened. Oh, I'd love to go to that
trial! Even better, I'd love to be a juror on that trial!
What vandalism? They moved the rocks; they weren't
damaged or harmed in any way. Criminal mischief? Hey, are
men now going to be charged with criminal mischief if they
leave the seat up in the unisex bathroom at the city park?
How about when people's car tires *rearrange* the gravel in
the parking lot? Watching this trial would be great fun.
It would make the town council a complete laughing
stock. And the person charged would probably file a lawsuit
against the city for malicious prosecution. I bet they'd
win too.

Back to the rocks on Sunday. Because we don't drive by the
park every day I'm certain the rocks have been changed
several times more and I missed it! I'll also bet they're
changed on Friday or Saturday night for maximum effect
because I don't think the city council calls out a city employee
to move them back until Monday or they'd have to pay him
overtime. At least I hope they don't. I may take to driving by the city park
every Sunday morning now to see if the rocks have been
moved. Yes, I live a boring life.

Okay. The rocks. This time the rocks spelled out *Hi Mom!*
This made me laugh out loud. This was cute. I loved it!

Today the rocks were moved back again to spell the
name of the town. And at the post office, which is
right next door to city hall, I heard some people talking
about how the city council members were very upset about
the rocks being moved and had instructed the sheriff's
deputy who is contracted to patrol our tiny hamlet a
specific number of hours per month, to keep a special eye on
the park and the rocks. Oh, good. There have been
several residential burglaries lately and we're going to
have the deputy spend his time guarding the rocks. AAGGHH!

Finally, I want to state publicly that I am not the person
moving the rocks. I'm in my 50's, I'm overweight, my knees
are bad and I don't have that much upper body strength. I'm
also not that ambitious. If I wanted to cause some trouble
I'd find an easier way. I know it's not my sons because two are
at university, one was in Eugene this weekend and the youngest
just isn't the type to cause mayhem. John was at work. I don't know
who's doing it. If I did I wouldn't tell on them. I'd probably give them
suggestions for other words to use. Yep. I'm a rabble
rouser. This was why John made me promise to keep out of
city politics. If the city council members were smart
they'd either 1) get rid of the rocks or 2) have a contest
with a grand prize. Maybe both. The winner would get to
keep the rocks.

John has suggested that several neighbors (preferably on the
highway for maximum exposure) could get together and spell
out a comment about the inept city council on their lawns.
Using white rocks, of course.

In the meantime I'll keep a watch on those rocks. It's clear
now that we are harboring a serial rock speller. We have
our own special kind of amusements in small towns. This is
just one example.



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