Yesterday I had the privilege of spending my workday doing community service. My company allows each of us to spend two days a year working in the community with our workgroup. It was one of those rare, perfect days in October. The temperature hovered around 60 and the clouds cleared up early to reveal a sunny day. My team was at the zoo to help keep the magic of “zoo boo” going. We had done it once before and had built an exhibit of camels out of pumpkins, gourds, metal stakes, and paint. We anticipated something similar this year.
As we gathered with a larger group from our company we were told that the pumpkin truck was on its way. In the meanwhile, we put on rubber gloves and eyed all the carved pumpkins circling various areas of the zoo. We discerned which ones were not going to make it through the weekend and, after removing the candles, dumped them in the back of a truck. In the end, fewer than 10% were left. We thought maybe they’d have us carve replacements next, but there was more back-breaking work to do first.
The pumpkin truck arrived and we unloaded pallet after pallet of 30-pound pumpkins onto the ground. I may never need to do another lat pull or squat again…Next there were more rotten jack-o-lanterns to dispatch. Midway through that, my team got pulled off to “sort apples”. This sounded a lot cleaner than our current assignment, so the five of us gals volunteered.
When we got to the apples, we saw four pallets piled 8 feet high with boxes of apples. Our mission was to take them, box-by-box, and take the dividers out so that the apples were loose in the boxes and not packed in layers. Somehow we were to believe that our efforts were important so that the volunteers who handed them out to the zoo boo revelers could manage the task more easily.
We came up with a method that allowed us to manage the task as quickly and efficiently as possible, but the hard part was hauling 40-pound boxes of apples up a little wooden staircase to a platform behind the truck where they were to be stored. We finished-off the first pallet and then cried uncle. Another team could have the pleasure of tackling the next pallet.
By this time we were sore and hungry, so we took a lunch break. We had an enjoyable lunch outside, probably the last al fresco lunch until next year. Much refreshed, we headed back for the zoo. We had apparently gotten ourselves off of the normal schedule because we couldn’t find the rest of the group who must have gone to lunch later than we had. So, of course, we wandered all over the zoo looking at the animals (um, for the group), and were delighted to see a polar bear up-close-and-personal and the zoo’s lone joey of the year peaking his head out of his mother’s pouch.
Finally, we headed back to the pumpkins and were able to help replace the many rotten jack-o-lanterns with some of our own. I am no artist, but I was pretty happy with my creation which was an homage to my favorite non-profit.
Find the Joy in the Journey…do something different once in a while!