Monday, June 9, 2014

"The mule's in the ditch!"

Next Sunday is Father's Day.

My father died in November 2009. Ever since then Father's Day has been somewhat bittersweet.

When my father died, my sister and I helped my mother go through what he left behind. I brought home some of his tools, some clothes, and, most importantly, his work gloves.

The gloves, beat up and used though they were, have become one of my prized possessions. Every time I work around my house I use these work gloves.

And when I do, I think of him.

My father was a school teacher. In his professional life he did not use work gloves. Yet these work gloves represent the kind of life that my father lived.

My father grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. His parents were sharecroppers. His childhood was spent on a farm. He attended a one room school house. He worked on a farm until he went away to college.

From this beginning my father developed a strong set of values that are represented by these work gloves. He was a doer. While he was not adverse to thinking about the best possible solution, he would often say, "The mule's in the ditch." It was his way of reminding me that it was time to get busy. We could talk about solving the problem, but every minute spent talking left the "mule in the ditch."

My father believed that working hard was important. No matter what profession you were in, a person needed to work hard, to do the job.

So I try to live my life that way. As a way to honor my father. But more importantly, to get the mule out of the ditch.

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