Dear Uncle Sam:
I really tried to do the right thing. When the U.S. Census worker showed up at our door on the County Line last Friday, I told her I had already filled out a census report.
But she had just driven down our muddy road, and she was not to be denied.
She insisted that the sheet of paper on her clipboard said we had not returned a census form.
Good citizen that I am, I tried again.
"Really, I know I'm not supposed to be counted more than once," I told her.
Another good and loyal U.S. citizen - my farmer hubby - chimed in, too.
"We filled one out," he said.
But the lady was insistent.
"Well, if you have time, can we do it again?"
So, what is an obedient citizen of these United States to do, my dear Uncle Sam?
Since I was in charge of the first effort and somehow it failed, Randy handled the queries this time. And it didn't take us the 10 minutes advertised the second time around either, even with Randy's impromptu comedic routine thrown in, free of charge.
"How many people live here?" Uncle Sam's representative asked.
"Three," replied my hubby.
Brent happened to be here to attend his cousin's graduation, and we looked at one another. If you have been reading Kim's County Line for awhile now, you will know that I know you are not to count college students. (See Stand Up and Be Counted on April 15, and The Girl Who Cried Wolf on April 17.)
But, I guess Randy decided if we were getting counted twice, Brent might as well get recounted, too.
And then the lady asked the follow-up question.
"On April 1, were any of you at college, in a nursing home, serving in the military, in a jail or in a detention facility?"
"Honey, were you out of jail on April 1?" my loving hubby turned around to ask.
Yes, yes, I was out of jail on April 1 (and any other day of the calendar year, by the way).
"Would you classify yourselves as white Caucasian?" the lady asked. "Oh wait, that's not how I'm supposed to ask it. I'm not supposed to volunteer information for you," she said, looking at my white, Caucasian husband.
"Would any of you be classified as Hispanic?" she tried again.
"Si!" Brent shouted out from the living room, not wanting to be left out of his father's comedy routine.
This poor, misguided lady was probably questioning her insistence we fill out the form, but she soldiered on.
"Now, how do you spell your last name?"
Randy has had his 11-letter last name for 54 years (another question asked by the census lady, by the way). I've been spelling it for nearly 30. And it was a major achievement for both the kids to master our last name in kindergarten.
So Randy spelled it carefully and slowly.
And then he proceeded to again throw her for a loop with both our first names. He is simply Randy - not Randall like the lady presumed. And I am simply Kim. I know my parents didn't believe in nicknames, and evidently, Randy's didn't either.
The nice census lady said we were the only ones on our road not to return our form.
Again, I politely disagreed.
"Our hired man lives two miles straight north, and they didn't get a census form," I said. "And they didn't call for one. So I know they haven't been counted."
"Well, OK," she said. "Thank you."
She sat in her car for quite some time.
I guess she was calling Uncle Sam himself to see if Jake's family had been counted. Or maybe she was just working up the courage to travel further down our sloppy road.
Dear Uncle Sam, I will be glad to take double the money for better maintenance of our roads and for our rural school.
So feel free to count me twice.
Kim at the County Line
Exhibit A: This proves that I did put the form back in my mail box and raised the faded red flag so my postman would pick it up. And, as it happens, the postal carrier is one of Uncle Sam's employees. So, dear Uncle Sam, ask my postal carrier. Thank you!