The Elder “Yard” Man
by Brian Welsh
Consider if you will a 4-year-old playing with sticks in the back yard, using an imagination that only he could to build a structure with broken sticks and twigs. His imagination twists and turns those sticks and twigs into a tree fort—the most majestic tree fort he can imagine.
He borrows his dad’s hammer, nails and wood scraps in the garage and puts his dream fort into motion. He is determined to have the best tree fort on his street, and he is going to build it himself with his own hands.
Imagine an 8-year-old getting dragged to work with dad to the lumberyard. He quickly realizes that going to “the yard” is much cooler than going to the playground.
He’s running, climbing and playing hide-and-seek with his imaginary friends all over the stacks of wood. Sometimes, if he is lucky, he gets to help load a car or even go on deliveries with his dad and get to ride in the “big truck.”
Fast forward to the 16-year-old who used to play at the lumberyard now working there. He can’t wait to go to work each day, and he can’t wait to get his paycheck. He is learning the value of a dollar and is also getting quite an education about the IRS and our country’s tax system. That doesn’t matter though. He has his eyes set on a black Mustang that is for sale down the street and stops by each day to make sure no one has bought it. Eventually, he saves enough and purchases the car, which he proudly drives each day to work.
Imagine him an 18-year-old with no money or interest in college who decides to continue working in the lumberyard. Money and jobs are hard to come by, so he simply stays put working with his hands, brain and body. Looking for a job and sitting behind a desk is just not for him.
Imagine a 35-year-old who is still working hard in “the yard” to support his own family—a wife and two boys. The kids are growing fast, and it is a constant battle to keep them fed and clothed, but the lumberyard is going well and growing fast as the economy is picking up. The joy in all this hard work is taking his boys to “the yard” and watching them have as much fun as he had when he was a boy.
Envision a 70-year-old now, and all his friends are retired. His hands are blistered and callused. His back hurts. His body aches. He has been through many long, hard and sweaty days in the summer months and has spent many days in the winter clearing snow to get the work orders filled, but he continues to work six days a week.
Why does he stay? It certainly isn’t the money. It certainly isn’t a pencil-pushing job. Maybe it is the fresh air. Maybe it is the smell of the fresh lumber being cut in the mill. Maybe it is the sea of beige colors stacked on the racks. Maybe it is the enjoyment he gets from working with the guys in the yard or with the customers each day. Maybe, just maybe, he loves what he does and simply doesn’t want to do anything else.
Make it a great day!
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