Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 2, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Travelling with our son the other day, the highway was blocked to allow only one-way traffic.  We had to stop as a Flagger stopped us and had us wait until the traffic from the other direction passed.  We then travelled the one-lane to the other end of the construction.

That is a scene that is familiar.  It is necessary often to block traffic in order to complete some repairs.  As we waited our turn with other cars behind us, I began to reminisce.  I recalled past years when such traffic control was different.

This modern scene has different methods and names.  I entitled this blog Flagger.  It was always Flagman when I was growing up.  I assume that was because the only ones working on the highway were men.  Today, rather than Flagman or Flagwoman, they are called Flagger.

This can be a dangerous job because of the speed and impatience of many drivers.  The Flagger stands in the blocked lane holding a paddle with the words “Stop” on one side and “Slow” on the other.  The Flagger will expose the “Stop” to hold traffic while traffic comes from the other direction.  When a number of vehicles have been permitted to travel through, the paddle is turned to “Slow” and the Flagger waves for traffic to proceed forward. 

But I noted many difference from past years.  Not only can the Flagger be a male or female, the individual wears a bright vest in order to be seen.  In the hand of this traffic controller is a two-way radio.  The Flagger communicate with their counter-part at the other end of the construction.  They converse, indicating the last car they have permitted to pass.  When the Flagger at the other end identifies that car and knows that the one lane is clear, the Flagger then turns the paddle to “Slow” and waves for the traffic to commence.  It is an efficient control of the traffic.

But I remember . . . only men, no bright vests, no paddles, and no two-way radios!  The Flagman would simply wave a large red flag to stop the traffic.  He would allow the traffic to move forward only after the last car approaching had arrived.  Remember how they knew the last car?

When the Flagman had permitted a reasonable number of cars to travel forward, he would wave for the other cars to wait.  However, he would walk over to what one thought would be the first car to lead the next procession, but no, he would give the driver a red flag.  It was the days of no air-conditioned cars, and so the driver would take the flag, hold it out the window to avoid the dust and dirt from the flag being in the car.  He was then allowed to follow the other cars that had been allowed to travel through the construction site.  At the other end, being the last car, the driver would slow down and hand to the Flagman at the other end the red flag.  That was the communication that the road was clear.  The Flagman would then wave cars though and repeat the action by giving the flag to the last car he permitted through.

It was an effective method.  However, imagine how lonely a Flagman could be with no radio or cell phone communication.  I am confident many Flagman were verbally abused by the impatience of drivers.  I believe it could have been a dangerous job because of the lack of barricades, large paddles, and isolation.

This is another of blogs that probably has no real encouraging or spiritual value, but it a trip down memory lane for some . . . and for others an insight to by gone days!

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.  Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.”  (Deuteronomy 32:8)



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