CHAPTER 4: Sammy and Polly

Polly was maneuvering in place to start laying asphalt. Sammy noticed she looked a bit sad. "What's the matter, Polly?" Sammy asked.
"Oh, it's that Bull Dozer!" she said. "He said the meanest thing to me this morning. It's got me all upset. I can't help being a big woman. I'm good! Why does he have to be so mean?" she sobbed. "Sometimes I feel like nobody likes me!"
"I feel that way too sometimes" Sammy replied. " I'm not as glamorous as some of the others! My windows look silly, and my wheels stick out funny... The Cats all hang out together after work, and so do the Mack brothers. Most of the time I'm on the side of the road by myself. "
"But at least you can get around quickly! My treads are really slow, so unless Peter gives me a ride on his flatbed, I'm pretty well stuck in one place!" she said.
"But Polly! You're maybe the most important one on the project! You're the one who actually builds the road! We all just get things ready for you." Sammy said.
"I may be important, but I feel like I don't have any friends. I spend every night by myself on the side of the road like you were saying you do. It's only a few yards from where I work all day. Then I start up the next morning and do it again. Sometimes they don't need me, and I just sit by myself for days!" She said.
"I never thought of that!" Sammy exclaimed. " I wonder if there are others like us? I tell you what, Polly! I've got a radio, and my wheels might be dorky looking, but I get around. I'll come by some evening and keep you company!"
"Oh, that would be great!" Polly said. "You've really cheered me up! That Bull Dozer had me all upset. He's just a dipstick tailpipe. Who pays any attention to his noise?"
"Yeah, but sometimes he's hard to ignore!" Sammy said. "Hey! Hear that?
One of the Mack brothers crested the hill, loaded with steaming hot asphalt. The whining turbo diesel growl was unmistakable.
"Breakfast time" said Polly. "Boy, am I starving!"

One of the Mack brothers backed up to Polly, beginning a sort of slow motion dance. The Mack brothers would back up to Polly and keep her filled up, as Polly moved slowly down the road, leaving a two inch layer of fresh asphalt behind. This required great concentration and co-ordination between Polly and the Mack brothers. Sammy didn't want to bother them, so he decided to go see his friend Bo.

Bo, Cathy, and Katrina

Seems Bo's family had the morning off. Bo didn't have anything to do until Polly got down some asphalt. Bo's wife, Cathy, and their daughter, Katrina were relaxing by the roadside.

They all said "Hey" as Sammy rolled up.

Bo yelled,"Say, Sammy: you know what they called Batman and Robin after they tangled with a steamroller?"

"Flatman and Ribbon!"

Sammy laughed, even though Bo told that joke all the time.

"Ooo you're so big and strong!" Cathy said."Sammy, have I ever told you how Bo and I met?"

Sammy had heard this story many times too, but he would listen anyway. Sammy's Mom always said you shouldn't interrupt people if you've heard their joke or story before. They tell it because it means something to them. They enjoy telling their stories: Why keep them from enjoying themselves? His Mom had taught him to do things a lot of people didn't seem to do anymore.

Sammy said, "I sort of remember, but tell me again!"

"Well, I met Bo one Sunday afternoon. The night before, some mean people had been drinking beer next to where I was parked, and they broke beer bottles all around me! Broken glass everywhere! I'd just gotten new tires too: they cost nearly $1000 each! I was really upset, and then Bo rolled by. He saw my predicament, and just laughed, "I'll take care of that stuff, Ma'am!"

Well, Bo rolled all over the pavement, and crushed all that broken glass into sand with his big strong rollers. I think I fell in love with him right then!"

Bo said,"I had noticed you for awhile: you're a big front end loader and I like that!
But I didn't know if you would even talk to me, since I'm not a Cat, and you are.

When I saw what those mean drunks had done, I figured it was a good time to introduce myself!"

"Oh, come on!" Cathy said.
"Sammy, Bo gives me a hard time about being a Cat. Some of us are stuck up, but not all of us!"

"Well, there's ONE Cat I sure don't like. That Bull Dozer."Sammy replied."Yesterday he threw mud on a stretch of road I'd just finished sweeping."

"That guy messed up so many ways! He's a regular exhaust manifold! " Cathy said.

"He called me a Half-Cat the other day" Katrina said."

Sammy knew that was incorrect: even though Bo wasn't Cattish, in order to be considered a Cat, you must only have a Cattish mother. So under Cat law, Katrina was fully Cattish.

Bo has to get to work

"Well, Bull won't mess with me! I have a good mind to go pin his blade to the dirt!" Bo exclaimed. "Let me know if he messes with any of y'all again!"
It was around 1:00 PM, and Bo and Cathy had work to do. They rolled off, Bo to roll the asphalt Polly was putting down, and Cathy to move fill dirt around on the new right-of-way of phase "B".


Katrina had a job to do also: she leveled and compacted the limerock and clay that went down as the first layer of a road.

But she stayed back when her parents left, to talk with Sammy.

"You're a good friend, Sammy. I've seen Bull picking on you, and you just put up with it."

"But he's so much bigger than me: what else can I do?" Sammy replied.

"I don't know" she said. "I just wish everybody was as nice as you!"

"I'm nice?" Sammy said.

"Well of course you are! You're polite. And interesting. You listen to Mom and Dad's jokes and stories, and pretend you haven't heard them a million times!"

"A million times?" Sammy said. "Surely not that many! Katrina, I've told you a hundred thousand times not to exaggerate!"

"See!" Katrina said. "You're always saying funny stuff like that. My Dad is big and strong, but sometimes he can roll right over your feelings. I appreciate a sense of humor and intelligence a lot more than physical strength."

Katrina had to leave, but she'd made Sammy feel really good. He was glad that he wasn't the only one having trouble with Bull. Sammy turned on the radio. The classic rock station was playing Alone Again, Naturally by Gilbert O'Sullivan

"Never liked that tune" Sammy thought. For one thing, it was kind of personal: Sammy felt alone a lot of the time. He'd never considered scrapping himself, though, which is what that song talks about. Plus the guy sounds like he needs to blow his nose.

The song was over, and the announcer came on, saying "Tune in this Saturday at noon for our BLOCK PARTY WEEKEND featuring the music of Buffalo Springfield, and all the bands their members went on to form! That's right: We'll be playing Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, The Souther Hillman Furay Band, and of course Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Starting AT NOON this Saturday at ClassicRock 99.4 FM: THE ROCKER!"

"Wow!" Sammy thought. "I hope Bo catches that! He loves Buffalo Springfield, the band being named after his grandfather and all. I'm not sure Bo even has a radio!"

Many on the jobsite didn't have radios. A lot of them made so much noise working that they wouldn't be able to hear a radio if they had one.

Suddenly, Sammy had a brilliant idea.

NEXT: Chapter (5) "Ram talks to Sammy"




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