[Please forgive formatting glitches. I tried to edit it four times, to no avail.]
Hey, follow behind me as I do my morning duties on the opening shift! You can see what I do regularly. First thing: Get to work on time, which in this case means 0715 as we open at 0730. Check my watch to see how I am doing.
I enter the long hallway of “back offices” in which we all work.
I get the weather report and put the latest forecast up on the whiteboard, along with yesterday’s high and low. Some days I get tired of writing “hot and sunny, 101 degrees” so I just write “same old same old.”
I wipe the eight touch-screens clean.
I grab my ranger hat off the hat-holding-rack assigned to me.
I raise the flag at precisely 0730.
I put my hat back in the rack, as it is for outside wear only, and wait for visitors with questions. I answer them patiently, kindly, with a big smile and a lot of enthusiasm. I joke with them. I sell them tickets to the Fiery Furnace ranger-led tour.
If there is a lull in the action, I take a spray bottle outside and clean our statues. Nice desert bighorn sheep! (Haven’t seen a live one yet.)
I customize my instructions and itinerary for every individual, based on their time limit, their physical activity level, and their interests. If they walk up to me and say, “Ihave only two hours to see your park; what do you suggest?” (which happens more than you can believe), I may say “Drive two miles to the very first viewpoint, Park Avenue, and park your car. Get out. Walk to the overlook. Take a picture. Cry because you will miss a ton of cool things. Come back when you can!”
But mostly, I have fun. I try to find new ways to say the same old thing over and over again. I say it with conviction, since I am 100% certain that this is one of the coolest national parks I know. It would be wonderful if each of you reading this could come some day.