SPRING COMES FOR THE LINEMEN
And so we worked on through the cold and snow and wet of the winter, cussing the weather and the traffic and each other and wondering what in the hell ever gets into a man’s head to make a lineman of him.
But there come a night in mid-April when we was erecting columns in the substation on the little draw beside the yard office. Up to midnight it got steadily colder, but about one o’clock the wind turned south and blew soft on us for the first time that spring. Even up in rigging linemen slipped out of leather coats and extra overalls and moved their arms again without fighting slack out of wet heavy clothes, and down in the marsh acrost the tracks we heard the frogs begin to croak.
That morning when the sun found us it looked like every tree in the valley had sprung a full set of leaves in six hours. As far as you could see the countryside around us was green and fresh-looking, and for the first time we seen the color of our work; not like it looks against dirty warehouses in city yards and terminals with fog over it, but free and clean. The tops of the rails shone high in the sun, the red lead on the poles stood out strong and regular against the new leaves, and all along the line of the track we could see our copper wavering and shimmering yellow as gold. Above it the aluminum strands of the transmission wires looked like silver strings. And the galvanizing on the high steel columns around us caught the sun and throwed it around the countryside like mirrors.
It was fine to see. We ’d come there in the dirtiest part of the year and worked through it so long and hard we had n’t paid no attention to what it looked like except as it tallied with the blueprints. Now as far as we could look our work was around us, shining and gleaming in the sun; we could feel spring in the air as strong as hot static and we knowed it would n’t be long now before the whole valley would forget what coal smoke smelt like and see them big new electrics of ours banking the air up ahead of them as they whistled along under our wire to New York. It would take some time yet, but it was coming and we was bringing it.