How’s things in your life?
It’s the time of year when we wrap up old projects and start new. At Storytellers Channel the new year portends our Hearts Afire Storytelling series and as usual we’re bringing a storytelling star to town.
But on a more personal level New Years is always difficult for me. As easy as it is to be excited about new projects, I’m always encumbered with all the incomplete tasks, missed deadlines and lost opportunities of the past year, quarter, day.
Which leads me to another story about my dad and me when I was boy.
I frequently tell myself this story, especially during these dark days of winter.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
A Story Worth Telling
The summer I turned ten I began to accompany my father to work. I could say I began to work with my dad at that time but let’s face facts; a ten-year-old didn’t contribute much productivity to a brick job. None the less, I was kept busy enough carrying brick (one at a time) to quickly grow tired and to begin complaining, “When are we going home?” My dad and his men would reply, “When the job’s done.”
That fall my mom’s dad died. Papa was the first person I knew who died. It made an impression. I began to wonder who else could die? Could my mom and dad? And if that was possible, what would happen to me? This was when the benefits of two sets of godparents was explained to me. Should Mumma and Deady die, I would have two households to choose from. Two loving families to care for me. I’m told this ameliorated my concerns.
From third to seventh grades I attended Gill’s Country Day School. As the name implied the bus would drive me the other side of East Egypt to a bucolic campus situated above a water moccasin populated lake situated below a pond that would overflow and make the roads impassable whenever it rained hard or the temperature dropped below freezing.
The upside of this was we got time off from school all the time. The downside was we had makeup days way into June most years. Another upside whenever the weather was too inclement for me to go to school it was usually too cold or rainy for my dad to lay brick. So we would play hooky so to speak together. He would drive my mom downtown to her job and he and I would grab breakfast someplace and then most days we’d end up catching a matinee before picking Mumma up from work.
Deady had started his construction company by this time. Many of these “off” day mornings were filled with dropping by customers and suppliers frequently with donuts. This was when I first learned the power of bringing food to a meeting. They say music soothes the savage breast. That said, hot donuts have paved the way to many a productive pitch. But that’s not the most important lesson I learned during this time. And by the way, we always seemed to find time for a matinee.
This was a period of consciousness raising. I’d been introduced to what it took to put food on the table. My eyes had been opened to mortality. And one day, it dawned on me, wait a minute, if you’re not working; you’re not making money. I began to fret and before that day was over I broached the subject with Deady.
Calmly, he asked me, “Did you have dinner last night?”
“Did you sleep inside last night?”
“Does someone love you?”
“Then let’s enjoy today.”
Deady used to say he enjoyed going to work everyday and he enjoyed coming home to Mumma and me every night.
That point of view guides me to this day. A lot of people can’t answer those questions affirmatively. I realize how blessed I’ve been; my whole life I’ve been able to answer, “Uh huh.”
So, when I find myself kavetching that I’m not healing as fast as I’d like, or I’m not meeting my sales projections, or any of my “shoulds” aren’t happening on my schedule, eventually, I stop. And I ask myself those simple questions and so far I continue to be able to reply, “Uh huh” and I remind myself to enjoy today.
It’s been difficult typing this through my tears. For all of my intention to live by his mantra; relating it reminds me how much I miss my dad. That said, I’ve got that out of my system and now as soon as I hit send on this newsletter I’m going to enjoy lunch with Mumma.
Happy New Year everyone, I hope it’s a joyful one. One day at a time.
This might not be a bad last minute gift. Hint Hint
I Want to Hear from You
Have you a story you’d like to share?
Have you a story you’d like to hear?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Til next time,