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Kelly School – Play Area Takes Shape

October 2, 2013

The belly dump trucks left huge piles of beautiful rich black topsoil leaving me the challenging of trying to spread it over the entire area we would use for lots of sports.  An offer of help came immediately.  One of the Kelly School parents owned a backhoe and spent three hours moving the dirt over the play area.  It saved me hours of shovel and wheelbarrow work.  I was grateful  for this help.  Now all I had to do was rake the dirt so it would cover the ground smoothly and as evenly as possible.  The backhoe had left lots of ruts and tire tracks making the racking pretty tough.  I started in the Northeast corner and worked my way to the Southeast corner covering a strip the length of my rake.  I needed the shovel to break up lumps and grooves in the dirt spread by the backhoe.  One strip done and I walked to the Northeast corner to do the next strip always liking to work left to right.  I followed the same routine for two raking five to eight hours each day.  I was almost to the end and was only two strips from the blacktop and the end of the raking when a  ” It could only happen in Kelly , Wyoming episode took place”.   A woman came cutting across the playground on her way home.  She stopped to ask me if I had seen Betty.  She said Betty was her pet raven.  I said I hadn’t.  She said if I saw Betty I should tell her to go home, and Betty would understand.  As I chuckled to myself, I told her I would be happy to tell Betty to head for home.  After several more hours of work, I noticed a car pull up next to the school.  The car had a California license.  The driver came up to ask for directions to the Gros Ventre Slide area, a popular geological feature above Kelly.  I proceeded to tell him he turned off the main road too soon and started to give him the route to his destination.  In the middle of my explanation a raven flew over us and came down on the dirt only five feet away.  The tourist was startled, but I wasn’t.  I went down on one knee and called out, “Betty, come here”.  Betty flew up onto my extended arm.  I’m sure she was thinking I had a treat for her.  I looked Betty in the eye and said, “Betty, your master said she wants you to come home.  Betty, go home,” I shouted. Betty launched herself into the air and headed south toward the residential area of Kelly, Wyoming.  Without a word, I rose to my feet and finished letting the stunned tourist know how to get to the Gros Ventre Slide.  He was utterly speechless as he walked down to his car with a story I’m sure he would be sharing for some time to come.  The raking was finally finished the first part of August.  No time to plant grass seed and no money to buy sod.  We would play on good old fashion dirt.  Grass seed would be spread in 1980.  Now my attention turned to doing what I could to improve the interior of the two classrooms before school started the day after Labor Day.  I would get two more surprises which would help me with the interior work.  Will be back with the next chapter soon.

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