There’s Always a Second Career

Slim Randles is back as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, so please help me give him a warm welcome and join me in a cup of coffee and a bite of chocolate. This is not the way the guys down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop drink their coffee, but they don’t have to know that we went the fancy-schmancy route. Enjoy….

coffee and chocolate

There could be lots of reasons Martin chose to become the “crossing sergeant.”

Oh, there have been rumors that the good woman may give Martin a hard time at home, but you know how rumors are.

Martin retired from the Field Ranch a while back after about 40 years. After that, we’d see him out walking or maybe fishing a little along Lewis Creek. Then one day in September, Martin found his new career as a crossing guard down next to the elementary school.

crossing guardHe got a blaze orange vest, a paddle sign with “stop” on one side and “slow” on the other. And they gave him a whistle. Oh yes, the whistle. At first, when a child was spotted a block away, Martin would trot out to the middle of the intersection, blow his whistle, hold up his paddle and turn it around so everyone saw “stop,” regardless of where you were. And we’d wait until some third-grader got safely to school.

Then we were waved on through. And with each wave of Martin’s hand there was a blast on the whistle. Oh yes, that whistle.

The school sure picked the right guy for the job. If you want someone who can stand out there every morning in heat and rain and snow and spring winds, just look for an old cowboy. Martin took all his “tough lessons” ages ago. His assistant each morning was Billy, the town dog. The two of them make a dynamite security squad.

The problem Martin was having, however, was that he had more time than children, and that led to his current traffic-control methods. He watches carefully, and if a car is coming from a right angle, he steps out and blows the whistle and stops us.  And if the car slows, Martin waves him on whether he wants to go that way or not. And that’s when there aren’t any kids around.

But no one complains. He’s there early, he’d stop a train to let kids cross the street, and he works for free. So what’s a few whistle blasts and marching orders among friends?

You have to admire professionalism wherever it may be found.


Brought to you by Home Country (the book). Check it out at

4 thoughts on “There’s Always a Second Career”

    1. I’m sure they do, Patricia. I am never sure how many of the characters Slim writes about are real people or fictional. But I’m betting many of them are patterned after some of the real guys he hangs around with.

  1. Loved the story. I thought of the English Crossing Guard on the Andy Griffith show, and how he made sure the kids got across the street safely. A very important, but sometimes thankless, job. God bless our Crossing Guards.

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