So. It was just a bus ride.
Being a little lazy to lean over across the seat of my truck and roll the windown so I could tell the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy that I was, in fact, a celebrated and certified member of the working media (thereby giving up a parking space in the lower lot at Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue), I drove out to Dutch Valley Elementary School and rode the shuttle bus to Saturday’s “Community Day.”
It’s been a couple of years since I rode a school bus. The last time I was a chaperone for fourth grade students going to a Tennessee Smokies baseball game. That trip took about an hour.
Saturday’s trip took about 10 minutes.
I learned a couple of things on this shuttle ride, the most important being you can’t dampen the enthusiasm of children when it comes to visiting a real “hands on” zoo.
“I want to pet a kanga-roooooooo,” one child shouted above the clammer.
“I love kanga-rooooooos.”
So do I.
Another shouted to his parents, “We’re here, we’re here!” after he spotted a cow grazing in a field on the way.
“Not yet, that’s just a cow,” the mother told.
“I know, I know! Can I pet it?”
That interaction alone was good for my soul.
I also learned the kindness of strangers has no bounds.
After explaining I took the shuttle bus I was offered numerous rides back to the school whenever I was ready to leave.
“You should have said something. You could have parked here,” James Cox told me.
Nah, I would have missed seeing the cow.
I did, however, accept a ride back to Dutch Valley from Keith Copeland, husband of Anderson County Trustee Regina Copeland.
Mrs. Copeland could not attend Saturday’s event due to attending a graduation at LMU.
Mr. Copeland and I chatted about happenings in county government, but tended to stay away from the controversial stuff in and around the courthouse.
See, there are also many good things happening in our county.
Many wonderful things that don’t make splashy headlines, don’t stir up debate, don’t get people riled up and ready to rumble.
Or whatever it is poeople like to do when they get all riled up.
We shared some ideas on the best way to get these “good” stories out.
Let me interrupt this train of thought to say that a few days earlier I had another conversation with the spouse of an elected official about all the good things that official does.
And to also say Mr. Copeland did not stop on the way back so I could get out of his truck and pet the cow standing in the field.
So, how do we get these kind of stories out?
First, the official in question has to be willing to talk about them, and therein lies the rub: They don’t want to.
Anderson County has some really good people working for its citizens and sometimes they don’t see doing good deeds as anything more than what they were elected to do.
Even if it does take creative thinking or breaking away from past routines.
But I told Mr. Copeland, “Let’s see what we can do.”