Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 10:13:56 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: Real World

It's two days before Thanksgiving. I was standing in long, long line at a local supermarket this morning with a cart full of "last minute" stuff for which my Susan had sent me to the supermarket. The line was one of many. The line of checkout counters looked like a toll booth on a major artery at rush hour. It was a culinery traffic jam that heralded many a food overdose, that was going to throw a lot of us into a stuffing shock syndrome, lapses into a turkey coma, and requiring most of us to spend weeks of rehabilitation and recovery from a caloric haze.

In front of me was a casually dressed man. In the spirit of the season, which I wish would last for more than a few weeks, and seeing that the pace at which we were moving threatened that we may miss Thanksgiving diner before we checked out, I struck up a conversation. I introduced myself. He introduced himself. He was a carpenter at local construction company

"My daughter is going to the university," he said proudly. "First in the family!"

I told him that he must be proud for his daughter.

"Yep," he answered. He extended his hands and turned them palms up. "I'm a carpenter. Work with my hands. I never did get passed high school. My wife neither."

I told him that I was an avid do-it-yourselfer, bragging about, among other things, having added a master bedroon complex to the house and having built a koi fish pond totally by myself. He dipped his head and looked at me over his glasses. There was an unimpressed "so" in his polite glance as if I were an intruding amateur. I told him that I can appreciate the skill and talent it takes to be a good carpenter.

"It takes more than cutting a piece of wood or banging a nail. Not everyone can do it. You work with more than your hands. You have to work with both your head and your hands," I assured him.

He lifted his head. "Sure 'nuf. Lots of problems thats gotta be looked at and done with right," he replied with a very slight proud smile. "But," he continued as his face turned serious, a small emphatic wrinkle appeared in his slightly contracted brow, and his voice got the tone of a reprimanding snicker, "I warned my Martha that she oughtn't get high and mighty with all that book learnin' and better keep her feet on the ground and not let you fellas drum out the common sense the wife and I gave her. I'll knock her down a peg or two if I see that happenin', yes sir. She's got to get a real job out here in the real world. We sure 'nuf don't want her to get to bein' airy like you people over there."


Make it a good day. 


Louis Schmier           
Department of History    
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                        /~\    /\ /\
912-333-5947                       /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
                                  /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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