Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Hard Workin' Man

I started this week by telling you how focused I was marking miles on life's highway. So focused in fact that I was missing much of the beauty of the journey. I then proceeded to tell you about some members of my family who have proven to be great treasures in my life.

Yes, my Aunt Betty can bake homemade rolls that still make my nostrils come to attention. And I can remember them -- graphically -- from over 40 years ago. But Aunt Betty is just one half of the "dynamic duo" that makes up their marriage -- a marriage now over 60 years old. (I think it's gonna last!)

My Uncle Glenn has become one of those rare gems of a family member. He was like buried treasure that is hidden deep within a mountain. You see, when we were kids, Uncle Glenn was about one thing: hard work. Looking back, I'm not sure that he knew any other way to live. He and Aunt Betty had the images of the depression seared on their childhood memories.

They knew what it was to live (yes, dwell or abide -- you pick the word) in tents. They knew was it was to work with adults who were trying to carve an existence out of the hard earth with nothing but their bare hands, some primitive tools and wills of iron.

Uncle Glenn took that ethic and started providing for his family, which quickly included five children. He didn't have much education, but he knew how to work and he worked. Long hours. Countless days. Trying to rub two nickels together to feed his family and put a roof over their heads.

Most of those years he was a mechanic. He could work on just about anything, but somehow he ended up in a tractor dealer. Small in stature, he knew how to wrestle that heavy equipment into shape.

My early impression of him was one of not seeing him much, then not understanding why he was strict to the point of anger when he was around. It took a while, but he learned something about himself that helped change that...

...but that's tomorrow's chapter.

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