Since Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi are playing reruns I thought that I would too, and take this labor day off… This post originally appeared labor day 2013
I’ve been a hard worker for most of my life. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with some inner drive but I know for sure that my working hard does have a lot to do with the blessing of watching people that I have admired work hard, many of them being those who were also willing to teach me what they knew. So I’ve spent a lot of this day of rest for workers remembering all of the people who I was blessed to watch and to learn from. Throughout the day the memories have piled up.
I remember watching my Dad and Uncle Frank rewire and repair the foundation on our summer cottage (I fetched tools for them). I remember Joe Loss who taught me to fish and to put cedar shingles on the roof of the house he built all by himself (and at fifteen years old to enjoy a lunch consisting of Campbell’s Mushroom soup eaten directly from the can with warm Stroh’s beer). I remember the Schmidt Bothers, owners of Schmidt Lawn and Garden in Wheaton, IL., who just a month after I got my driver’s license sent me out to deliver repaired Yazoo lawn tractors in a Chevy pick-up truck with a three-speed shift on the column and a trailer with the following instructions: “Be careful backing up – everything is backwards!” I remember Bob and Ed, the owners of the Ace Hardware where I worked for a couple of summers teaching me how to tell people what they needed to fix their toilets and make new keys for them. I remember Mr. Baumgartner and Charlie Berger teaching me how to draw, Bob Swaney teaching me how to rehab buildings and the DeLuco brothers teaching me how to fabricate metal and Craig Kaviar teaching me how to heat it up and move it around with a hammer and an anvil. I remember David Lind teaching me how to make molds and cast bronze… And after that I remember Ellen and John teaching me about the Old and New Testaments, Judith teaching me to preach, Randolph teaching me about the homeless and Mark teaching me about being a pastor. I can also remember Jesus, laborer of love, teaching me that if I showed myself to him he’d show himself to me. He still asks.
I’ve left so many out. But I’m glad I remembered God before posting this. Golly. Faces are flooding in. I bet yours is one. Remember with me today, or tomorrow, all those whose labor of love has helped you and me become who we are. And a very happy Labor Day to each and every one…