Sender and I arrive a little late to the Public Works Day as we had a few stops to make on the way. We walked up the small incline on Hancock Street to the Chehalem Cultural District amidst the rhythmic sound of incredibly loud horn honking. You may think it a most terrible din when read in words, but the joy behind it was palpable. There were tons of kids, all ages, taking turns sitting in these terrific machines of the storybook kind about “the working city” in which these children live. There were tractors, bulldozers, and machines that looked like something out of a NASA flight-line parking lot. I’m still not sure what that one does, and I see it drive by my house frequently. We live nearby the public works yard. I’ll have to ask next time ,when I am out of my state of awe, of just what my imagination thinks of what it could possibly be for.
Sender loves all of the fun colors of the driving machines. There is a shiny rainbow of bright pumpkin orange, John Deere green, gunmetal gray, pearlescent white, yellow stripes, and many shades of matte black. It’s quite the feast for a young baby’s eye. For that matter, when submerged among them, I am enjoying it immensely as well.
Children in little banana colored plastic hard hats are skittering about everywhere waiting their turn to honk one of the mighty horns and relish in that moment of time, of being the true driver and hard worker, making that sturdy machine whir and do it’s special job. The smiles are endless. The giggles and proud miniature stances add to the air of childhood enchantment with these awesome vehicles. It’s a sheer joy just to watch. When Sender can walk and climb, I am sure this will be one of his favorite annual events around here, of which there are plenty more.
Ocean blue kiddie pools are scattered about filled with the perfect sand for digging and filling buckets. In fact, in the amount of time we hung around, I saw some little ones never leave there chosen pool of earthly dig-dug heaven. What great fun, to be a kid again, collecting dirt under the nails for mom to meticulously clean later that evening. Sender enjoyed a pool full of pinto beans of which I thought was an excellent idea. I was fascinated with that amount of beans myself. There is something very soothing about running beans through your hands and feeling the soft, smooth little legumes gently plop back into lagoon of brown speckles. Bright yellow dump trucks and bulldozers peeked out of the beans enticing Sender to reach for each one. These were definitely a hit with the little guys.
I had recently learned about Public Works Day while attending baby story time at the Newberg Public Library. Mary Lynn is Sender’s usual group leader at the library. Her husband is Superintendent of the Newberg Public Works Department. For about 13 years, they have coordinated this great day for the kiddos to enjoy. Mary Lynn is also my near neighbor. I run into her often when she is walking to work. We always have a quick, friendly “hello, enjoy the day, and goodbye”, as we part our ways on the days tasks. She was near the bean pools and with her usual contagiously heart-warming smile; she watched Sender and the other tots frolic among the hard little beans. It is good to see her, and she is glad to help contribute to this fun occasion.
I plunked along the adult tables, checking out information on Newberg-Dundee Bypass, a huge project for the town, and the Oregon Department of Transportations current largest undertaking. It’s exciting to see how the town is adapting to accommodate the increased tourism and resident influx into wine country.
There are snowcones and hot dogs that are graciously served by the wonderful men of Public works. I wish I could do justice to recall all of their names. They are very kind men sharing the enthusiasm of the local children. I appreciate what they do, even in lacking my own personal detailed understanding of what it truly takes to run a city such as this; I thank them and am glad for the day.