There was a time in America's past where people had to be able to do for themselves. They had to know how to grow their own food, or be able to forage for what they needed when they were hungry. They had to be able to make things, fix things, and all with whatever materials were in their close vicinity.
Park rangers used to have to be able to function as biologists, teachers, police officers, plumbers and handymen on any given day. My friend Cleve, now a retired ranger (he worked here at Mount Rainier in the late 1960's) was one such ranger. His stories of this park and his duties would probably freak out some of our current staff.
Sadly, the days of a ranger being a Jack-(or Jill)-of-all-trades are long past. We have people that specialize in one or two things. We must work as a team. And teamwork is good, but what happens when one member of that team is sick or injured? Does work come to a grinding halt?
It's just my opinion, but I would like to see the Jack-of-all-trades attitude (lifestyle?) come back into fashion. I think we've lost something as a culture - throughout the so-called 'modern' world. We've given up our independence, almost willingly, by focusing solely on one or two main skills. We must rely upon others for too much.
I like knitting my own socks, baking my own bread and canning my wild-picked blueberries in the fall. ;)
Why am I thinking of these things right now? It's a slow week here at the Ed center, and one of the tasks that I've - willingly - taken on is fixing all of the curtains in this building. My former boss just let things go, even though these curtains don't fit the windows/curtain rods they are on, because she couldn't sew. As they hang now, the curtains don't really close, so blocking out light to show movies or Powerpoint slide shows (or have telnet classes, as is often the case), is hard, unless you want to do this all after dark - not really normal business hours around here.
I've started on the first of 16 curtain panels. It's a simple task really, just rip out a couple of seams and sew a new one in the correct place. I even have a sewing machine at my disposal, so I don't have to do this by hand.
Not exactly the job I was hired for, but it needs to be done. And my way is a whole lot cheaper and more efficient than waiting for someone else - or sending these off to a professional tailor for alterations.
Good thing I know dozens of plant species AND how to use a sewing machine, eh?
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