Mary had just driven her all-new 1984 VW Rabbit Cabriolet convertible through the Southern Pacific Railroad crossing on Sixth Street in Lincoln.
This is one of those “hump” style crossings. You have to slow down when crossing, otherwise you will have a big jar and the whole car will shake.
If you’re a weak rider and can’t seem to relax you’ll hit rock bottom. If you channel Starsky & Hutch you can get some air if you go much faster than 25mph.
I turned to my sister as she continued to drive.
“Too bad you don’t treat mom’s car that way,” I said.
She asked me what I meant.
I pointed out that she had crossed the tracks as if she was afraid of damaging her car, unlike when she was driving our mother’s 1970 Chevrolet Caprice. It wouldn’t slow down, making passengers feel like they were in a bumper car on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
She looked at me a little questioningly
“It’s amazing how you treat things differently when you earn money to pay for them,” I added.
After thinking about it, seconds later Mary said she understood what I meant.
It was not I who was a wise big brother, far from it. I was just sharing what my grandmother Edna Towle told me while we were playing Chinese Checkers or Solitaire when I spent the night at 6 and 7 in the 700 square foot two story house that I was in. ‘she had built with her own hands during the Great Depression.
It was wise advice sharpened by her life experiences and reinforced by the way I have observed others act over the years.
Grandma didn’t teach me about her skill with a saw and a hammer or how to shoe a horse. But a lot of things got stuck, at least for the most part.
I’m not always up to the task, but I certainly make a conscious effort to live up to her two most important points that she’s worked on whenever we’ve had a one-on-one: don’t walk around with a bullet on your shoulder and treat others the way you want them to treat you.
I wish I could say I nail both boards 100% of the time. I do not. I can honestly say that I strive to come through life following these two pearls of wisdom.
Grandma’s advice that I passed on to my sister 33 years ago should definitely be kept in mind as Labor Day approaches.
Most of us see it as a great excuse for a three-day weekend or the last blast of summer. We rarely think about “work” per se, its value or its virtue.
Since many of us have considered government efforts to prevent the pandemic from bringing down the economy while trying to slow the spread of COVID-19, we might want to do some soul searching.
Work has built this country and keeps it going, not the government.
And what is given to us is of less value to us than something we earn.
It’s worth being able to work to get something. It creates value far beyond economic considerations. The delayed gratification involved in having to work for what you need or want manifests itself in a sense of self-worth, the concept of worth and withholding from wasting hard-earned gains.
Over the past year, as the government has reached out to support the economy, many people have agreed to hand out more dollars as a way to build better lives for all.
There is a great danger that “free money” from the government will dilute the incentive to work, leading to social problems and undermining the economy.
If in doubt, ask yourself a few questions.
Did you wake up with a roof over your head this morning?
Thank the work.
Did you enjoy a breakfast of foods grown, processed, trucked, placed on a shelf, kept cool in a refrigerator, cooked on a natural gas or electric stove and sat at a table?
Thank the work.
Are you going to travel in your car filled with refined petroleum gasoline on roads and bridges to go play by the lake?
Thank the work.
And while it took a lot of brains to design your smartphone, computer, tablet, X-Box, and smartwatch, none of this would have been possible without certain mining materials, component fabrication, and their Assembly.
Thank the work.
There is a lot of noise about how we move from a manufacturing economy to a service economy.
At the same time, everyone thinks coding and 3D printers will make physical labor as we know it obsolete. But someone still has to extract and process the raw material, then build the robots, computers and 3D printers.
Engineers specializing in a repertoire of disciplines provided blueprints for the Industrial Age, the Space Age and the Internet Age. But everything they do would have remained on paper or billions of digits on a microchip if it hadn’t been for the work.
Try to use indoor plumbing if it wasn’t for the job. The workforce not only built and installed the toilets, but also set up the pipeline and the sewage treatment plant.
We look at modern day wonders such as the Golden Gate Bridge and remember one man, Joseph Strauss. History does not note the thousands of people who mined the ore, cast the steel, fabricated the wire, and hammered the 600,000 rivets in each turn, and those who risked their lives erecting the suspension bridge over the dangerous Golden Gate. Eleven men were killed while building the bridge. None of them were engineers.
Work literally built the American dream.
He turned the New World into an economic juggernaut that escalated in the world’s darkest hour and produced the armaments to repel Axis power, then rebuilt the war-torn lands.
Work is still important.
Sadly, many despise miners, farm laborers, truck drivers, train engineers, mechanics, plumbers and the like because they are not engineers, lawyers, professors, code writers and draftsmen. ‘other professionals. Try to start an internet start-up by avoiding all the work that produces.
Your innovative workplace could be in the open air or in a cave. They wouldn’t have the power to run your computer, charge your smartphone, or run your espresso machine. You couldn’t sell or ship a physical product. You will have to walk to work and do it naked, unless you can sew your own clothes or find some big enough fig leaves.
You need to make sure your office is by a stream as there would be no water lines or bottled water deliveries requiring a truck, a factory to mold the plastic bottles, and a system. treatment for bottling and disinfecting water.
It is ironical. We don’t mind paying $ 1,000 for an iPhone that has a huge profit margin, but we’re screaming bloody murder if we can’t hammer someone who employs manpower skills to do a job for us or produce a commodity to the smallest possible profit margin.
We favor gadgets over the essential.
This is because the job has done its job and done it well.
We rarely give a second thought to what they do. Work and what it produces are taken for granted.
There is great honor in work as well as in value.
And nothing that we enjoy today in America would be possible if people didn’t embrace work.