Monday, October 01, 2007

Final Day, Final Project

It's been a great year and a half. Today is the day that's been looming for some time. I'll be weekends only until May. That's the way it is as a seasonal ranger. Man, have I had a great time.

It was mostly us seasonals at the park today and the mood down in the "bull pen" was the usual good-natured banter. However, toward the end of the day a slight pall crept in to the room as we started comparing notes on part-time job opportunities in the area. Then we ended up laughing about how much the workload is going to be increasing for the full-timers (no wonder they're rooting for us). We ended up in agreement about how lucky we are to have the coolest of jobs even on a part time basis, and headed for the parking lot and our homes until next weekend.

Over the last 18 months at the park I undertook several projects that I found quite satisfying, including lots of illustration jobs for park publications and rehabbing our collection of replica artillery projectiles. Today I completed my final project of the season.

During my tours I like to indicate the position of Battery B, 4th U.S. artillery from the Cornfield and tell the Johnny Cook story. The only problem is, you can't see the Battery B guns from the Cornfield. So late last season I cut a red artillery guidon out of a plastic table cloth and stapled it to a truncated sponge-rammer shaft. The result was immediate visibility of the battery position from the Cornfield as well as other key vantage points. I was pretty happy with the impact this simple expedient had on my tours and resolved to replace the plastic with actual fabric.

Today was the day and just in the nick of time. Ranger Christie brought in her sewing machine and I brought in a yard of red cotton cloth. I'm pretty handy with a sewing machine (I was a sewing machine mechanic in a garment factory many, many years ago) and in about an hour I had a nice little guidon all set to go.

The results are pretty convincing...

and very visible from the "sweet spot" in the Cornfield.

Everyone have a great autumn and I'll still see you on the weekends, for awhile, just north of Sharpsburg.

Ranger Mannie

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