This is just a daily update on borgette’s wanderings that we get from one of the directors of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference. I’m just keeping it here for posterity sake. Memories often fade and I think words often help to bring them back. Especially the good ones.

Dear Parent,

Today Anna traveled to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, located at the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Now a national park, this beautiful area was the site of abolitionist John Brown's daring and ultimately unsuccessful raid on a federal armory in 1859. Anna, along with park rangers dressed in historical garb, engaged in a variety of simulations that mimicked life in America during the years leading up to the Civil War. Anna manufactured fake bullets, scrubbed laundry, participated in military drills and learned some fun folk dances. The scholars also examined Brown's life story and discussed his leadership characteristics. They studied the challenges he faced and then debated his actions.

I swear, the girl gets around more than I do…


I like my job. I really do. But there are days when I think a nice boring life of bean counting might be just the ticket (and better compensated).

One reason is that construction work tends to attract characters. Bored with bookwork? Can't read very well? You can make a living wage building things. Got a felony record? No problem. After all, there's no money lying around, and if you get caught stealing the punishment is often swift and direct. Besides, what matters most is your attitude, reliability and what you can do. People who show up and get things done are what matters, the other stuff is only required if you are in a position where you will have direct contact with the end user, namely the building owner.

In addition, you have to become quite familiar with porta-potties.

Of course as a small job/service tech I generally get to use a real bathroom in a heated building and I often have direct contact with our customers. It's pretty much a job requirement. So it isn't so bad. But I still get to work with some colorful characters. Today is a case in point.

It started off with one of the electricians getting frustrated because his wife because she couldn't find the remote control and couldn't understand why the cable wouldn't work even though it had been disconnected for over a month. She couldn't work any more because she'd totalled her car backing out of the driveway without ever making the street. Or do laundry, apparently.

She really seemed like a team player.

Then one of the drywallers, a true character, was talking about his son whom he'd allowed to live back home with the agreement that he had to save $600 a month. With free room and board, that seemed reasonable. Unfortunately he went out for a thing of skoal, and decided to by a few instant win tickets. $200 worth. Then realizing he was down $200 spent the other $400 on tickets trying to win back the initial $200. Does he really think the lottery is rigged in his favor? Then he was complaining about how little he is paid despite the fact that he barely got through high school and has no skills.

Sometimes I really do understand why conservatives say some of the things they do.

But soon the day's conversation moved from the ironically depressing to the surreal. It all started when a beefy drywaller in his sixties talked about the fact that when you were charged with a crime it remained on your criminal record even when you are acquitted. That seemed strange to me, I mean "not guilty' means just that and it does not belong on a person's record. But he insisisted it did. He had a murder on his record, but "had been found not guilty by twelve of his peers".

But then the other drywaller decided to claim: "You're not the only guy in here who's been charged with murder."

Of course having two killers (acquitted) on the same crew at the same time stretched credibility, and the first drywaller, a big, beefy fellow of about sixty called him.

"I got proof"

"Well bring it in then!'

"I will, but I want some money. You're challenging me and I want money when I prove I'm right"

"You aren't right"

"Yes I am. And I want you to give me $5,000 when I prove you wrong. We'll make it a bet."

Now the first guy, who had admitted to being acquitted, believed this about as much as I did realized the stakes were getting out of hand, and told him "Nope, that's fine. You've bluffed me down."

But the other guy continued to be irate, arguing that he had, in fact, been charged with murder.

I tried to imagine people who would offer a $5000 bet just to defend a claim that they'd been charged with murder. Clearly this is where Springer gets his people. I half expected Paris Hilton to show up with a tube of KY and a video camera.

But she did not and everyone got back on the job, where I worked side by side with with two killers (acquitted).

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