Poetry: One Time My Dad

One Time My Dad
–Richard E. McMullen
From Not Only Love

One time my dad said to me, I don’t
see why peo­ple com­plain about how hard they work
or how tired they are. Nobody works hard but
farm­ers, min­ers, lum­ber­jacks and foundry workers.
This was before pow­er tools, trac­tors, and such things, and all
the work was done by hand. When farm­ers in Upstate New York
left to get away from the stones, what
they found in South­ern Michi­gan were: more stones.
As they cleared the land, the hors­es hauled the black wal­nut trees
and stumps to the side of the field and the farm­ers burned them.
Black wal­nut was no good to them, too hard to work.
Grand­pa Conde, when he final­ly left the farm and moved
to Milan, got a job in the foundry and walked to work
and back, six days a week, 12 hours
a day, for 50 cents a day. He thought
he was sit­ting pret­ty. When­ev­er the noon whis­tle blew, people
would say, Well, Hel­l’s out for lunch. But he would sit
down in a cool place and eat his lunch.
Once, when she was a lit­tle girl, Aunt Ida
asked her father, who was work­ing in his gar­den, why
he worked so hard and was­n’t he tired? Grandpa
straight­ened up from his hoe­ing and answered: I nev­er get tired.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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