A small confession: I enjoy watching Duck Dynasty. Yes, the situations are more than a bit contrived and as the TV crews of the A&E network put the duck hunting Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, through weekly ordeals then simply let the cameras roll. But there’s something very decent in these folks and compared to so much TV fare, I’ll take the bearded, drawling duck call millionaires over Dancing with the Stars.
The patriarch of the gang is Phil Robertson, a hard-drinking carouser turned born again Christian and the father of a family of mostly bearded sons who have turned their duck call business into a media empire. Although Phil hasn’t been seen to actually smile in any episode, his catch phrase is, “Happy, happy, happy,” and despite his monotone gruffness, you actually believe him.
I thought of Phil’s line last week as a spent a short morning in Jacksonville. The health department had announced that they’d be dispensing doses of the flu vaccine at the JHS Bowl so I naturally jumped at the chance to get poked in the arm and pulled into the parking lot on College. It was the beginning of a happy, happy, happy morning.
The fellow who met me at the door of the Bowl handed me a paper and saw that I could walk, so he directed me to a stand-up desk to fill out the necessary form. He seemed happy that I’d come. Bless him. It’s always nice to find someone who hopes you’ll make it through the winter. And in case I had trouble remembering my name, a Morgan County Health Department lady named Bonnie was standing at the desk to offer me assistance. Unlike most health forms this one was short so in 30 seconds I turned to Bonnie who directed me to the next station. As I left she gave me a hug. I briefly considered coming back for a second dose of the vaccine.
Very polite and happy ladies manned the next station. I add “polite,” since they didn’t call me a fool for not remembering the name of my insurance company. They happily took my 30-dollar check instead. If the flu stuff works then it’s worth that much. “Just hop on down to that next lady,” they said…smilingly. I’d stopped hopping somewhere back in 1984, so I strode down to the next gal who asked me what arm I’d like to donate to the cause. When I asked her if they still gave shots in the hip she smiled and said, “We can arrange anything.” I told her that I had simply asked the question for research purposes and she directed me to Judy. This was nice. She didn’t say, “Wait right here and someone will call your number,” or “Please wait for the next available operator,” or even, “Go down to station number six.” She called the nurse by name…Judy. And Judy was happy, too, as she stuck me in the arm then said, “You’re not going to write about this are you?” I assured her that I wouldn’t do such a thing and that made her happy, too.
The whole process took less than five minutes and I don’t think I stopped moving the entire time until the needle went in my arm. I figured that was a time to hold still.
Happily, I left the JHS Bowl and drove to County Market where both the checkout lady and the bagger smiled and seemed happy to see me. I could hear store manager, Tom Glossop, laughing in his audience. Maybe he was watching the hidden in-store videos of bachelors from Arenzville trying to find crab legs, but whatever the cause, he was happy.
One more stop, this time at the ShopKo pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I arrived a few minutes before the pharmacy opened but a white-coated technician happily stepped up to the counter to wait on me. Within seconds two happy clerks relieved her and did the checking out. As they talked to me about their grandchildren, the great weather, and the fact that one of the ladies had a Coke hidden in her purse, they happily gave me my drugs. When I signed my name but forgot to push the “ok” button, one of the gals reached over the counter and pushed it for me. She was happy to do so.
I left Jacksonville smiling. Even the traffic on the county’s most dangerous speedway, the Concord-Arenzville road couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I realize that this had not been a morning filled with earth-shaking events, but with the nastiness in Washington, terrorists blowing various parts of the world off the map, the Chinese holding the bulk of our national loans, and left knee shouting at me every time I get out of the car, I could tell myself that it’s good to be living in the Jacksonville area. Phil Robertson would like this place.