I Got The Bird


Usually that’s not such a good thing. But last weekend, it was a very good thing. I finally received my Quail pin for 100 hours of service for the California State Parks. I’ve been doing monthly mountain bike trail patrol volunteer work for the past five or six years. Sometimes I missed a couple of months – for the most part, I always showed with my college roommate, Leslie, and then after she moved back East again, Keith, aka “The Governor” (I call him that ‘cause he seems to know everyone out there like he’s run for office or something.)

Okay, so at last year’s Volunteer Fiesta, I thought for sure I would get that pin. (I was sort thinkin’ it should’ve come the year before.) I was a little pouty that night. My friends were surprised too. I joked with a sullen face, “I didn’t get the bird!” – and they handed me another sympathy beer.

So when Ranger Winter finally called my name this year, I got a good cheer from the crowd. It was like winning an Oscar and making the podium all at once. Not quite, but it was good.

As mountain bike trail patrol volunteers, we bring extra water for the hikers, offer directions and bike mechanical support, and answer questions. On rainy days, we turn away the P.O.’d patrons at the gate. The State put us through extensive training. Unofficially, we can even offer some medical assistance. Officially, we are not supposed to harass the park visitors. Imagine my quandary, when I met 734’s Dad on the trails that fateful day a couple of years ago in my oh-so-stylish Trail Assistance uniform? For the record, he harassed me – and continues to do so every chance he gets.