THE MONTHLY ADVANCE
9362 W. Overland Rd., Boise, Idaho 83709 August 2018
as a necessity. After I made this foolish mistake, I went from having a poison ivy rash to a sunburn in no time. I’m happy to report, though, that everything else ran smoothly for the remainder of the summer. Even though I was never going to end up as a park ranger, I learned a lot during that summer. For example, you can bet I never step foot in the woods without checking for poison ivy. The job also taught me to be humble and practice self-discipline. When you’re working in the wilderness, you don’t have a manager over your shoulder keeping you honest; it’s on you to do the work and do it well. In a sense, being on a trail crew isn’t all that different from being on a football team. When one person tries to cut corners, it affects everyone else negatively. Most of all, I learned the value of a job well done. My father always told me about the “dignity of labor,” — that no matter what you were doing, it was always more rewarding to give your all. I understood what he meant, but I never really felt it until that summer with the trail crew. It’s stuck with me ever since. Oh, and I also learned that going to college was a good idea and that there were harder things in life than chemistry class. After all, two hours in a classroom is nothing compared to eight hours hammering railroad ties. —Al Jones PT, OCS, Cert. MDT I never step foot in the woods without checking for poison ivy.” “Even though I was never going to end up as a park ranger, I learned a lot during that summer. For example, you can bet
THE DIGNITY OF LABOR LESSONS FROM THE TRAIL CREW
Unbeknownst to me, I was sitting near poison ivy for the entire meeting! It didn’t show up until the next day, but when it reared its ugly head, it was everywhere. Not only did I have to get used to a new job I’d never done before, but I had to do it while I was in a state of permanent itchiness. Luckily, my roommate at the time, a fellow football player, knew a trick for clearing out the rash quickly. Even better, the trick required going to the beach. Apparently, ocean water helps heal poison ivy. So after our second or third day on the crew, we hit the beach after work. I’ll tell you, that saltwater made a huge difference. A few days later, I was poison ivy- free and ready to never smell calamine lotion again. After this misadventure came a trial by fire — or rather, a trial by sunshine. We were often working in a canyon, with the sun relentlessly bearing down on us. As you might guess, a bunch of us college football players thought we were used to being outdoors in the summer and didn’t regard heavy-duty sunscreen
Like many college students, I spent my summers doing whatever odd jobs I could find at Cal Lutheran. Because I was a member of the football team, I needed to be on campus for summer workouts. There weren’t a wealth of jobs in the area, but luckily our coaching staff had a few connections who would provide jobs to players. Between my junior and senior year, I had the most memorable of those jobs; I spent a summer working on the trail crew for Wildwood Regional Park in Thousand Oaks, CA. Our duty was mainly to carve out a path through the wilderness. That involved clearing brush, pounding railroad into rocky hills, and all manner of grueling, physical labor. I was comfortable with the nature of the work, but I was an utter trail novice at the time. My inexperience led to a hilarious mishap during my first day on the job. There were eight of us on the crew, and we were all gathered on the trail for a meeting with the head of the local parks and recreation department.
Advance: To move forward; to make progress; to move ahead.
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