Monday, January 11, 2016

The Midnight Traffic Report No. 1

Winter road reports on The Traffic Channel saved lives in the flourishing town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Traffic Channel was a major employer. 

Wyatt A. McReynolds was hired in the Fall of 2001, after signing a handsome contract. Soon the traffic reports were a staple of very early morning satellite television spreading across the Canadian Prairies. Traffic was kind of a big deal in the wild west. The station needed endless hours of live programming to fill time slots and they needed voices to track miles of endless roads.

Wyatt enjoyed three square meals a day. His breakfasts included cereal and a banana in the morning. He savored a nice tuna fish sandwich for lunch. Wyatt loved a good hot dog for dinner and indulged his sweet tooth with a Mr. Big chocolate bar when nobody was looking. The talented, keen traffic reporter aged gracefully. A better than average man in his late fifties with no grey hair, he had ambition and a boyish smile. His mother’s genes played a part in his youthful appearance. As he reclined in the chair of his office on the eleventh floor of The Traffic Channel building, the dead silence from his 500-square-foot office was an eerie silence that would cause any man to reflect on his life.


***

First reporting traffic at the age of eleven in the small room of his beloved mother’s tiny apartment in Wheelerville, Texas, Wyatt found his call of duty. His mother was a Czech immigrant. He spoke fluent English, but sometimes he spoke Canadian or a little Czechoslovakian in his spare time. Looking out the small window, he whimsically called out the traffic moving through the city, building excitement as rush hour rattled on. Soon after, Wyatt took his reporting to a community channel; and even though he was just a kid, a manager saw his talent at calling traffic almost before it happened. He would always report the early morning traffic wearing a cowboy hat, red vest, blue jeans, a big belt buckle, red boots and spurs. He even carried his lucky lasso, named it Bessie, and kept it lashed on tight to his waistband, while reporting traffic across northern Texas. The man had a few gigs and non-paying cameo appearances in rodeo reports on the community channel, but his strength was the road. The youthful traffic reporter could be heard in a hysterical fit of laughter. “Yee-haw, it's another fine day to giddy-up and go driving!” At a young age, his passion for working early mornings was contagious. Sometimes after laughing on camera, he was heard deep into the night. “And now let’s look at the exit ramp.” The sound of his cackling carried on beyond midnight.

Wheelerville’s community channel was located in the downtown core of the town. The small red brick building was situated between two huge high-rise buildings and dozens of shop houses running along Ronald Reagan Way, a busy street and a major commuter artery.

Most of his breaks from work would be spent at Marilyn’s Mercantile. The small, quaint department store with a pop stand and historical feel could be found beside the small community channel building. It was just one of many shop houses along the bustling street. The young man also spent some of his time at a local horse ranch at the edge of town. Bobby Joe was his black mare and best friend. 


Bobby Joe


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