Thursday, May 14, 2009

Waitin on Wendell Again

I made sandwiches so don't worry about food. Ready to roll.

I'm waiting on Wendell. It's going to be a nice day here in the greater Des Moines area and I decided I would ride along today with Wendell on his newspaper motor route. Wendell delivers the morning newspaper and also has developed a fine network of "side delivery" jobs that he combines for additional income. Never mind that the paper is the "morning" paper and is supposed to be on your doorstep no later than 7 a.m. Here it is 7:45 and Wendell is still eating his pancakes at the Urbandale cafe I'm assuming. He somehow gets my website on his telephone so he knows I'm waiting on him here.

We'll cover about 300 miles today. We take off north of town, take a gravel just outside of Ankeny and we're in rural Iowa! From there he's got about 200 stops along the way. This day is usually interesting. I sit in the back seat with the newspapers because big dude has his K-car configurated to be able to drive on the right side of the vehicle so he can roll up to the mailbox and put the paper into box without having to get out of the car. I go along for those stops where he does have to get out of the car. It's kinda like watchin an airline pilot. 3 hours of riding accompanied by short bursts of terror. We'll be riding up the road and Wendell will spot a mailbox thats been tipped over or practically layin on its side. He'll start to whine 1/2 a mile away. Cursing and cussin he begins to incrementally shift that big ol belly of his inches at a time to start to prepare for his exit. His car is set up for his optimal comfort and performance sort of the way Dale Jr's car is molded to his body for top performance. Wendell's usual driving mode is his he sits with his right shoulder leaning on the passenger door. His head is partially out the window. He left leg is extended all the way across the car and he operates both the gas and brakes with that one leg. He steers the car with his left arm and his body is turned that he is able to reach his left arm back where he has built a wood shelf in the backseat where he piles up the newspapers. He grabs onto a newspaper, kind of contorts his body in a 1/2 corkscrew and with one well-practiced fluid motion he semi-tosses the newspaper into the mailbox. After the paper hits its mark he turns back toward the road and exhales "Jesus". He rams the gas and we're onto the next stop.

It is pure poetry to watch. It is practically a pilates workout and you would think that with all of this exercising every day Ol' Wendell would be fit and trim as a board. Not even close. He fuels his body for the trip with about 70000 calories. We're talking boxes of cheez-its, 12 pack of pepsi, 12 pack of mountain dew, he's downing sleeves of Oreos and washing it back drinking straight outta the gallon jug of milk. 10 to 12 little debbie and the of course along the way the widows are always leaving him plates of food. Cookies, cakes, breads. I've yet to see one plate make it home. He feels it's his obligation to eat the entire plate of cookin before he gets home. We'll stop somewhere around noon usually at Madrid at a cafe for lunch and then we'll hit the road for the remainder of the papers. It is pure poetry in motion watchin this man work and hearing his grunting, moaning, exhaling, gas releasing, sighing, swearing, laughing for 300 miles of gravel roads. All along the way he's commenting on the daily news and he's got that Maxwell and Polly and that oldies station KIOA outta Des Moines blasting. Usually we'll have a flat tire due to all of the nails and stuff on the gravel roads and that is a joy. He carries 3 or 4 spares and that will cause a setback of about a 1/2 hour to get that changed. He actually is pretty good at getting

OK, he's here. We'll hit the road. He's honkin the horn. I see ya dude! Hold on, I been waitin on you for 45 minutes. Gotta use the bath and I'll be out.

Over and out - Buford.

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