Monday, July 1, 2013

Why did I go to college?

Today I was talking to a good friend, Melinda Olbert, and I told her they were re-roofing my house due to the storm damage.  Do I need to tell you there was storm damage in May in Oklahoma in 2013?  Anyway, Shouna was telling me she could not believe those guys were doing all this work during such hot weather.  I told her, "well I did it!".  Yes, when I was growing up in the Osage I re-roofed and roofed a house many a time starting before daylight and ending after daylight.  Those shingles are like soft butter in this heat and they gather heat so when it is 100 degrees out and the sun is blistering hot those shingles are so hot you can hardly handle them.  To make things worse nailing in those shingles you got tired swinging a hammer all day not counting the fact that your thumb was blood blistered from getting hit by myself multiple times.  I sweat like crazy in this weather but as I remember it was so hot that I could hardly drink enough water to sweat and you never needed to relieve yourself of the water because your body used it faster than you could get it in.

I really appreciated one summer when I helped re-roof Mr. Fulsom's house (Jimmy and Clarissa Heath's grandma and grandma, great folks who loved Christ) in Grainola and he told my dad that he wanted me to do all of his handyman work.  From then on Mr. Fulsom would call me instead of Dad and then usually I had to get Dad to help me.  Mr. Fulsom gave me encouragement and confidence.  Why don't you do that for someone today?

Melinda told me that working on the farm is what made her husband Mark (family is from Marlin near Ponca) go to college.  As I recall that is precisely what drove me to college plus the fact that every time I worked so hard Mom would say, " are you going to roof houses or are you going to college?".  Each time she would just change one word in that question to drive in the fact I needed to analyze my motivation on what I wanted to do and should I think about the alternative of going to college and being like Uncle Bill Heath who got to work at Conoco in the computer room where it was 68 degrees everyday all day long.
Kenny and Don Kelsey and me hauling hay 1969


So here is my list of why I went to college:

  • roofing
  • hauling hay
  • digging ditches
  • working cattle and getting kicked and slapped in the face by a tail covered with manure
  • pulling calves
  • raising chickens and cleaning the chicken house and snakes in the nests
  • feeding cattle in the winter
  • and the list goes on if you read my over 200 stories in this blog
Now, here is what I loved about the country and doing those things:
  • getting up early in the morning and getting a good start on the day like roofing
  • being outside to enjoy the air and sun and animals and nature and God's creation, hauling hay
  • knowing about the soil and how it is layered up and what soil types are best for growing things, kinda like digging ditches
  • knowing I was tough and could handle anything in spite of the nastiness of the effort, working cattle
  • helping a life into the world and knowing what to do in an emergency, pulling calves or pigs or lambs
  • eating fresh eggs and having fresh fried chicken, raising chickens
  • enjoying the fresh air of winter and sledding in the snow and watching the wild animals and hunting, feeding cattle in winter
  • being able to tell stories about the fact I did those things
  • knowing the best folks in the world are those who work hard, play hard, do the right thing even when it is not easy 
  • having folks I can depend on without having to even question it
So what do you learn in the Osage?
  • go to college
  • when the going gets tough the tough get going
  • everyone should move to a small town and 
Thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com


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