Monday, May 17, 2010

work that sustains

We all have work, if we're lucky. But for most of us, work doesn't require rolling out of bed before dawn seven days a week to toil outside in all kinds of weather. And fretting about weather because, if not correctly predicted, it could wipe out months, even years worth of effort.

My great uncle was a farmer. Patriarch of a smalltown Illinois corn-growing family, who inculcated in my father respect for hard work and knowing how to drive as soon as your feet could touch pedals. Was it the fresh air? The farm food? The potent homemade moonshine? My uncle lived to be 104, outliving his 102 year old wife by two years. When I went to pay my respects last week, I saw, next to him in the coffin, two husks of his cross-bred specialty corn. How many of us do work we'd want to take with us?


California Girl said...

Well, not so far...altho' I'd like to take my sense of humor!

Cool story. long lived relatives gives you a pretty good shot at the same. Are you prepared? I have similar stories, similar relatives & all quite long-lived on Dad's side. Southern Illinois farmers from Massac County. Dad got into advtsg during the Depression, working for Florsheim in Chicago. His mother lived to be 100 + 3 mos. He made it to 98. I just don't think I want to be that old. It is daunting. Course, it's not our choice is it? Or, is it?

Anonymous said...

Hel..My mom's mom lived to be 97...she was born the day before Thanksgiving and was premature. The Dr left the house and told the family if she lived til morning she would make it . They placed her on the opened oven door in the turkey roaster ( no turkey that year ) to keep her warm . She often reminded us her head fit in a tea cup ! Well she made it ...and after 97 years she died peacefully in her sleep.

Howie said...

That was a very nice Eulogy and very touching story. My condolences. But in reality both your Aunt and Uncle are celebrations of life vs mourning of death. They came, they saw, the kicked ass. Too few of us can say that.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@California Girl Advertising during the Depression! Must have been even more challenging than advertising during recession. Me, I'm counting on wonder drugs to keep us spry through our centennial years.

@Anonymous Love the image of newborn's head in a tea cup. What a story.

@Howie Great way to look at things. You're right of course.