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  • Betty Girardeau


Yesterday was my last official day as a 2020 Census enumerator. Tennessee is "complete," or as complete as it can be this year. I turned in all my equipment and supplies to my supervisor late yesterday afternoon and filed my last time and expense report. After doing so, I felt a real sense of loss. I have really enjoyed the last three weeks. It was good to feel like I was doing something positive. And in many it ways it was the perfect job. While I was never sure when I went to bed how many cases, if any, I would get the next day, I felt a sense of adventure each morning when I would check for case list. Where would it take me today? Who and what would I encounter? What back roads would I discover? I was never expected, at least when the case list was pretty long, to have to finish the entire assignment for the day. Just do the best you can. I could, more or less, start and finish my day when I wanted to do so, as long as I was home before dark. Now you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with pruning. Just before my supervisor called yesterday to arrange a time and place for me to turn in my census things, I had been pruning my tomato plants. Some of the earlier stems and stalks were beginning to dry up and brown and just made the plant look ugly. The tomato plants had had the upper hand in my little garden almost from the beginning, so the pepper and herb plants and the cucumber vines have been trying ever so hard to get to the light and do their own thing. I thought that by removing the dead and dying parts of my tomatoes I might, not only improve the looks of my little garden space, but I would give the other plants an opportunity for a last hurrah. Any of us that have plants know that a judicious pruning usually results in a better shaped and healthier plant. And this brings me back to having my census job "pruned" yesterday. I am sorry to see my job come to an end, but I gained so much from the experience that now I am excited at the prospect of finding new and different ways to continue to personally grow and produce. Initially the census job felt way out of my comfort zone. But now I know I really can do some things I wasn't sure I could do. This new personal growth has been pruned back a little, but not pruned off. I will continue to grow even better now.

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