The men pulled into the landing’s parking lot in a big, sweeping half circle, piled out of the truck and each stepped quickly to their pre-launch tasks. Some loaded gear from the truck bed up and onto the pontoon’s deck. One transferred a jerry can of spare fuel. One moved the charged battery. One went to the helm and began the process of making sure the motor was ready to crank.

The driver released the boat’s connections to the trailer, then returned to the cab and backed the rig smoothly down to the water with no wasted turns or unnecessary motion. When the pontoon floated free, its pilot fired the engine, then backed away through a hanging haze of blue white smoke. Less than a minute later, the crew of four was all aboard and they motored away, ready to begin their day. The welding team responsible for upkeep on the Pickwick Dam locks was clocked in and on the job.

As we waited to launch our own craft, the Boy watched all of this in quiet fascination. Work is always work to one extent or another, he knew, but maybe there was something to the idea of combining a good-paying job with an environment you love after all.

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