As is my practice, I asked Kimball if she had anything for the Rock Wall. She came back with, “You can tell people it’s cold.”

I asked, “Do you think there is anybody who doesn’t know that?

She said, “Haven’t we seen several people in short sleeves and shorts?”

I had to agree that we have. Every time I see someone dressed like that I think, “They are a lot tougher than I am.”

– I called Mike Oyster, owner of Apple Bus, Monday to congratulate him on winning the El Dorado Springs contract. It had been so long since I talked to him, I had to ask Kimball for his name. She remembered.

Mike told me Apple has been gone from El Dorado Springs something like 10 years. I think he said Apple is in 50 schools including one in Alaska which he visited in December a year or two ago. He said he told them not to look for him again in December.

They have a unique set of challenges and rules up there:

A driver cannot let a child off the bus if there is a bear or a moose visible within 300 yards.

A driver cannot leave a student until the student’s snow mobile starts and moves. Sometimes they freeze down. Sometimes the student may live quite a distance from the bus stop up on a mountain.

A driver cannot leave a student until the student’s 4X4 starts and moves.

Mike said they put studded tires on the buses Nov. 1. State law requires they change back to mud grips sometime in the spring, maybe May 1. There is four inches of insulation under the floor of each bus.

Each driver must demonstrate the ability to put chains on all wheels of a bus.

Buses are equipped with rotating chains for the drive wheels like some ambulances are here.

Mike is glad to get El Dorado Springs R-II back as a customer. He said he can only remember one or two districts that Apple ever lost.

I may have this reversed, but I think Mike said he knew Mark Koca by good reputation because Mark was a teacher somewhere that Mike was on the school board years ago.

I do remember that Mike’s parents lived their last years in El Dorado Springs.

– I really found my interview with Marlon Collins informative. As was Bruce Rogers’ speech to the Chamber. Hope you do, too. And a week earlier my interview with Mark Koca.

I spent hours transcribing the tapes then checked with my subjects to be sure I got it right. The only comment I got from a recent article was from Jerald Jones, “I didn’t know you were going to put it on the front page.”

– I always ask Mary if Kat did anything interesting over the weekend. Well, one morning, Mary awakened to nice warm feet. Kat had crawled up on the bed and was sleeping on her feet. Next night, Mary felt Kat climbing on the bed and onto her feet.

Kat doesn’t know how lucky she is that Davis found her as a young stray and brought her into the office. Kat mostly stayed out of sight here except she waited on the front counter for Mary to bring her a treat each morning then she’d swat Mary’s ankles as she walked to the break room to feed her. Mary took Kat home and she soon claimed Brad as her own.

– OK, just to prove that I listen to my wife: It’s cold out there. Bundle up.           KL