Thanks Dad, For Teaching Me the Shoemaker Job

Phil-2

Every Father’s Day my dad comes to haunt me. It is no different today. Memories of the many times he counseled me and taught me the meaning of work run through my mind. His teaching method was simple. He never asked for help, he just did what dad’s do to labor. He got up early, ate his simple breakfast, and walked two miles to his job. He did this for forty-five years without complaint.

His example is all I needed to spur me to learn what he was doing, and to learn how he did it. We were not Hillary Clinton poor, we were dirt poor. As a result, Dad made many repairs on a shoestring. One job that comes to mind today was repairing rotted window sills. There wasn’t enough money in the till to buy new windows, and his mind-set was why buy a whole window for the sake of one board? His fix was to first dig out the rotted wood. Then he cut a scrap piece of good wood to fit loosely into the space. Next, he then generously smoothed a layer of heavy black tar to the frame, and then placed the new board into the goo. A couple of reclaimed wood screws held it firmly into place. The last step was to fill the seams at the ends to keep water out. He called it a “shoemaker job.” That wasn’t a derogatory slam at a shoemaker, but rather a compliment to the ingenuity of the shoe repairing trade.

Dad taught me to appreciate a “shoemaker” job. In my youth, I was never satisfied with less than perfection on my home repairs, but as I aged, visions of watching Dad do his “shoemaker” jobs finally changed my mind to become more satisfied with completion and less with perfection. Completion resulted in more time with my family where perfection denied me those minutes.

Happy Father’s Day to my Sons, Son-in-Law, Brother, Brother-in-Law, Nephews, Nephews-in-Law, and all my friends who are fathers.

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Decoration Day Remembered

Mom and Dad called it Decoration Day. As a kid I never missed a single Decoration Day at the cemetery. It was really Memorial Day, but Julie and Joe called it Decoration Day.  We never went there to honor a veteran or someone who died in the war, we went to decorate the grave of my oldest brother, Joe. Joe succumbed to scarlet fever back when that was a terrible disease. Today, people don’t even know what scarlet fever is. The fever took my brother at age seven and changed my mother’s life forever.

We always had trouble getting into the cemetery on Memorial Day. What, with a public outdoor Mass, the VFW, and American Legion honoring  veterans with gun salutes there were crowds of families remembering their fallen.

My sister, brother, and I were kids then, but the tributes left a lasting impression which has not left my memory since. Today, my cousin Sharon sent me this beautiful video tribute honoring our warrior veterans. This is no doubt the best and most honorable video I have ever watched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq2BbVZ2LEc

Time Gets Better With Age

A good friend surprised me today with this wonderful insight into the development of insight as we age.

Thanks Chuck, I really enjoyed this.

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Grumpa Joe, Grampa Jim, and Sis

Time Gets Better with Age

Read it through to the end, it gets better as you go!

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night”.
Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either.
Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.
Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.
Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great pleasures.
Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there.
Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.
Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make someone’s day by simply sending them a little note.
Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.
Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.
Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours.
Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.
Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
Age 52

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
Age 53

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
Age 58

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.
Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer.
Age 72

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
Age 82

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch – holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
Age 90

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Age 92

 

The Gift-Part 8-Birthday Party

The Gift-Part 8-Birthday Party

Morty’s tiny house glowed with the tree and the nativity. The birds sang in anticipation of the party. Morty and Rabbit danced a circle around the room.

“My friends Max, and Gracie are coming to celebrate,” he said. “They will be late. Gracie is with Ben, and Max is with Jenna. They must stay until the kids say their prayers, and are asleep.

When the guardian angels knew their kids were dreaming of sugarplums and fairies, they slipped away to Morty’s house.

Max and Gracie arrived with their halos turned on, and shining brightly. Their angel wings glowed and fluttered when they saw Connie for the first time.

“Wow, what a beautiful tree,” they said. “Jesus will love you Connie.”

“I have a new tradition to share with you,” said Morty.

“What is it?”

“It is called breaking bread.” Morty gave Max and Gracie each a slice of unleavened bread He held his own piece up and stood in front of Gracie.

“Hold your bread up like I am doing.”

“Like this?”

“Yes.” Morty pinched a piece of Gracie’s bread and said, “I wish you peace.” He tore another piece and wished her love.

“Now you do the same and make your own wishes for me.”

Gracie followed his example.

“What a beautiful tradition. Where did you learn this?”

“On my last visit to heaven, Brad, Ben, and Jenna’s Grandma showed me. She asked me to keep the tradition going in her family.”

The three angels shared wishes for each other. Each of them broke bread from the other, and made a wish with each piece.

When the bread was all gone, they made one final wish.

“Merry Christmas.”

Without another word, Morty, Gracie, and Max, knelt quietly before the crèche, the birds, and the rabbit at their sides.

They said prayers for their children, for peace in the world, and for goodwill toward all men!

The End . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS BLOGGING FRIENDS

The Gift-Part 7-Final Touches

The Gift-Part 7-Final Touches

“Be careful with the tinsel, said Morty. “Hang each strand carefully. I don’t want Connie to look like the nest in the top branches.”

Morty placed a shiny gold ornament into the nest. As Red, Chick, and Spare hung the tinsel they chirped Silent Night. When the last strand was in place, they landed on Morty’s curl and admired their creation. Connie was an outstanding gift to the Baby Jesus on His birthday. Morty turned on the lights, and Connie came to life.

“I feel so wonderful,” said Connie, “you made me look beautiful. I hope Baby Jesus likes me.”

Morty handed the rabbit a bright red cloth, “put this around the tree stand to add the final touch.” Rabbit dragged the red cloth under Connie’s boughs where he had spent so many nights out of harms way, and worked the cover around the base.

“We have to put up the nativity next.” Morty pulled a small table to the tree. He wanted the nativity to be next to Connie where all of his friends would see it. Rabbit wiped the table clean, and covered it with Morty’s best tablecloth. The birds waited nearby. Each had a figure, ready to place. Morty set the stable in place.

“Okay, now you can finish by putting the figures down.”

Each bird hovered gently with a figure in its beak, and lowered it to the table. They handled each Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and all of the characters of the scene with special care and gentleness.

Morty put the last tiny white lamb down, “here you are little Shepard.” The nativity was complete.

To be continued . . .

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