In Honor of Fathers
My dad worked hard labor from the time he was old enough to walk. He was born in 1950 into a very poor rural family, one of 12 children. As soon as he could walk, he was pulling tobacco. For several years, he actually had to draw water from a well. If he wanted flour, he walked to the flour mill (driven by a water wheel) and bought it. Industrial progress in some rural parts of the US, even after WWII, was slower than many realize.
He did every type of farm work you can imagine and helped run his father’s country store until he was 21, when he graduated high school three years late because of undiagnosed hearing and sight problems. Then he had his first pair of children and worked for over twenty years for VEPCO. Eventually, he got a divorce, a new job at Burlington Industries, married my mother, started a cattle business, and had his second set of kids. After another twenty years of working (often overtime) at Burlington without a significant raise, bonus, or promotion due to a racism backlash running way back, his body and mind finally gave out, probably partially contributing to his second divorce.
He’s 60 (I’m only 23), and he’s put in a good 50 years of hard labor. But only rarely did he ask for my help. He’s fed cattle 80 pound bales of hay less than a week after a hernia operation, because he didn’t want to interrupt my homework. He’s seriously injured himself on multiple occasions. He’s badly slashed himself with a chainsaw, blacked out from dropping a tree on his head (amazingly he didn’t cut himself that time), and passed out from heat exhaustion, because he wanted better for me. Dad gave me a computer and let me play, hoping that I’d never, ever have to do what he’s done.
Now, I’m looking for a job as a software engineer. I can’t think of any way to thank him enough. He’s not really the emotional type, but I think he’ll understand when, after paying off my school loans, I completely restore his rusting out ’57 Chevy truck. He parked it before I was born because he and mom didn’t have the money to keep it running with a family on the way.
Entry filed under: Inspiring.