Tuesday, May 26: First Amusing Anecdote of the Summer

Monday marked one week since our Yellowstone arrival and we’ve settled in nicely. The weather has been unremarkable with no snow, some rain, and daily temperature ranges of about 30 degrees to maybe 48. Mary Ann has worked daily since Wednesday but we try to get out and drive around every evening. The reason she accepted the lead position is so we could get into the park a little earlier and see the park wake up. Which sounded good in theory except it was a mild winter and the place was pretty much awake and drinking coffee when we got here.

But this early in the season fewer visitors are here so it almost feels like our own private park. Yesterday after dinner we drove to Sylvan Pass to photo the big horn sheep and encountered nary another vehicle the whole time. Half the snow has already melted off Avalanche Peak. Last year we were well into June before that occurred. The sheep were in their expected location (halfway up a steep hill just past Sylvan Pass – sometimes nature can be remarkably predictable) and very obligingly wandered down to the road and stood in front of us so Mary Ann could get lots of pictures and Braeten could make sure they all knew she was in the truck.

Big horn sheep on the road

Big horn sheep on the road


On the way back we stopped in Sylvan Pass, which has steep, crumbling mountain walls on either side, to photograph the Howitzer stationed there for avalanche prevention.

Howitzer at Sylvan Pass

Howitzer at Sylvan Pass

A few days ago we drove through Hayden Valley in search of another bear. Just south of the Canyon area we came upon a small jam but couldn’t tell what everyone was looking at. I parked the truck and walked 50 yards to the closest onlookers and asked what’s going on. They told me a big bear had come down to the river for a drink, had retreated to the opposite shore, and they were waiting for it to come back. I asked if they had made an appointment. For a few seconds the look on their faces was priceless but they quickly realized I was pulling their leg. We left.

My World

Every year as part of our “on boarding” with our summer employer we each fill out direct deposit forms which are provided during the check in process. This year we only received one so yesterday I drove to the controllers office to pick up a second form. The controllers office is a small interior room with no windows and one door. The ladies who work in the office interact with walk-up business via a teller window made of inch-thick glass with a six inch round hole for voice communication. For added security, an eight inch round cover is mounted inside the window directly behind the voice hole but with a half inch gap to allow sound waves to pass through. If you remember the “cone of silence” from the old “Get Smart” series you have a good idea of how effective communication is through this system. A small slot at the bottom of the glass permits passing documents or cash across the threshold.

When I walked up I was greeted by smiles from the two ladies who’ve worked there for years and who were in the middle of an important conversation. The new lady looked at me with a “what can I do for you” look. I told her I needed a direct deposit form. She looked at me quizzically. I told her it was for payroll. Still an uncertain look. I told her I didn’t know for sure if I could get the needed form from her office. She told me she wasn’t sure but would check. We waited while the others concluded their conversation which, of course, I couldn’t hear.

Finally the new lady relayed to the others, in words I couldn’t hear, what I needed. Three heads snapped in my direction in unison, perplexed looks on all. I smiled not knowing what else to do. Finally the new lady said, “rec center, right?” Then I understood. In a very very loud voice I slowly stated, “dir-ect de-po-sit.” She immediately reached below the window and retrieved the form I needed.

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