By John R. Greenwood
I will never know the answer to the question, "What if I had listened to them and gotten a degree instead of thick calluses?" I do know that my life working with my hands has been a rewarding challenge. I have spent my life in the middle of men, who just like me forty years ago, made the decision to use their bodies as well as their minds to put food on the table. These are intelligent and resourceful men who love being outside with backs soaked in perspiration and sunshine. They, like me, could have continued down the path of higher education but for reasons of their own chose to push handcarts instead of pens. Many of them do have degrees, yet they feel more at ease behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler than they do behind a computer screen. I am grateful for that and for them.
My livelihood and success depends on the hard work of others. Several years ago my long days on the road resulted in an opportunity to trade in my dairy hook for a desk. A desk piled high with its own challenges and frustrations. It too is hard work. It's reward is softer hands and an extra twenty pounds. The young ones look at me and my furrowed forehead as I deal with a driver with a broken truck and a full load. They say to me," I wouldn't want your job." I look at them now and think the same of them. When the mercury dips into the teens, the wind is howling at two in the morning, and the snow is coming sideways, I think to myself, "I wouldn't want your job."
My back is worn and my calluses have been reduced to weekend rake-blisters but my memory and my gratitude belong to the working man whose alarm rings before the rooster's.
"In Memory of Tim"