“The hands of a brick layer, the mind of a scientist, the heart of a poet.”
Epitaph of Saumel J Kirkwood former Governor of Iowa, and what I’m thinking of carving on my tombstone ;-) DM
I’m probably going to step on a few toes with this one, but you know what, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
I had the privilege of teaching 8 young men in a construction program 2009-2010. All the time in the back of my mind I was thinking, teachers have the opportunity to plant seeds in their student’s lives that can last a lifetime.
When I was a young man, there were very few healthy masculine role models as I recall. The majority of men were either stoic males who suppressed their emotion, or jocks whose sole purpose in life was to “get some”, great qualities to have in a future husband don’t you think?
I believe a real man can be tough and know how to stand his ground, but who also know how to admit when he’s wrong. (humble) Real men are in touch with their feelings, regardless of what anybody else may be telling you.
Since my years in High School, I’ve been married for 35 years to the same woman, (and we still like each other). We’ve raised 4 children now in their mid 20’s to early 30’s, and have a healthy relationship with each of them.
In addition to teaching, I’m a general contractor.
I am a people person, and have known and worked alongside dozens of men (and women) in the construction industry with every personality type you could imagine. In all these years, the one I had the most friction with was a former bible college graduate twerp with a mouth.
I love pouring cement, stick framing a roof, riding motorcycles, writing poetry, baking my grandma’s rye bread from scratch, shooting a semi automatic rifle, working in our apple orchard, stacking bales in the haymow, butchering chickens, and bringing my wife coffee in bed.
I love working with the biker/just got out of jail types.
I love to look them in the eye and mess with their minds.
Six years ago, I spent the day with Johnny. He was helping a friend of mine remodel a building. Johnny was on work release, muscular, in his mid 30’s. I came with my sawzall, chop saw and diamond blade. My job was to cut a doorway into the side of the masonry building 2 stories in the air.
I looked Johnny in the eye and said, ‘”I’m afraid of heights.” (because I am) :-)
He looked @ me and sarcastically said, “Man, what kind of carpenter are you, afraid of height?”
About 1/3 of the way into the process, there was an accident. Johnny, accidentally stabbed me with my sawzall.
New blade, with pigeon dung on it. Blade slid into my forearm like a steak knife. Two hours later, after a trip to the emergency room, we were back. My forearm, with 7 stitches was all wrap up. I couldn’t leave because I had brought the tools and know how. I watched Johnny struggle for 5 minutes with my chop saw. It was driving me nuts.
Finally, I said, “Let me have it.”
I grabbed the saw with both hands and went back to work. Two hours later, we were done.
Johnny, looked @ me when I finished with the saw and said, “Man, you are one bad @#s .”
Music to my ears.
I originally wrote this in 2009 on my personal blog. Got a comment this morning and decided to repost it on the farm blog. DM