Today is a day when my dad would greet everyone he met with the most common phrase in the farmers lexicon. “Hot enough for you?” Actually, he didn’t say that very often. When you wake up over in the San Joaquin Valley, summer is every day. It’s at least this hot, and many times you head to the field dreading the over 100 degrees you will be working in for the day. You might be digging ditches or picking up potatoes or a bunch of other jobs that farmers do every day.
I might have known about Labor Day, but I didn’t think of it as a day off. Animals still have to be fed, cows milked and crops watered, whether it was summer or winter. That’s one of the biggest reasons I joined the military as soon as I could. The heat was killing my initiative. Then I get sent to Fort Sam Houston in Texas, where they taught me how to cover wounds and take a soldier’s temperature.
When I think back about how much I didn’t know, I’m surprised that I’m still here. I wrote about My Angel’s dependence on her phone last week, but I forgot to tell you what this “Smart Phone” means to me. Now remember when we sent a few brave men to the moon? The computers that they used to go to the moon and return alive were not even half as powerful as our new phones.
I have an iPhone 7 and have enjoyed playing with it, but in all the time I have had it I have not even gotten close to knowing what all it will do. Sure it will allow My Angel to look up the answer to her question and ignore my superior knowledge, but as I go to bed each night I have to be careful. I start looking at what is on the screen and all of a sudden it is midnight and I’m still being fascinated by what I am seeing. Black and white TV shows from my youth, being captured by the skill and youth of Tyson or Muhammad Ali.
I remember when Walt Disney was building Disneyland he would show the audience each day what had been done since the last episode of the Walt Disney show. He would speed up the camera when he was talking about how fast his roofers were. It was the first time I had seen any camera work like that and I thought it was so cool.
I couldn’t rest until I went to school the next day and asked my teacher how he had done that, and I truly believe that was the one instance of photography that interested me enough that I bought a brownie camera with the first check I ever received and kept taking photographs the rest of my life. Well, maybe not the “rest of my life.” I mean I’m still here, and although I can hear The Angels sing sometimes, I’m planning on being here until my sons are married and have children of their own.
That will be the best revenge I ever had. They are way smarter than me, but this isn’t about smart, it is about the love you have for your child and how they react to your pleas to make me proud. So far I still have a few answers for their questions, but that’s just because I read a lot. Ever since Mr. Maker taught me to enjoy reading and visiting other worlds through the covers of a book, I am happiest when I have a mystery or adventure to read about.
I can’t learn unless I want to, but we are all like that. Can you remember when you were in school and something happened that changed the way you look at the world? I can remember that and I know that reading is the best way to go to war or stop a criminal. I learned all that just by reading. Of course there are many things that I see that I could have never known and it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings, but to just know all the stuff my kids know about the phone would put me up there with Einstein or any other genius.
I was pretty happy thinking I knew some things, but this heat has zapped my brain like it was in a microwave. I have discovered one thing that before kids or phones or computers came along that I grow too soon old and too late smart. I simply cannot work outside in this heat any longer. In fact, I think my bride thinks I take too many chances with myself. Climbing up on the roof to blow out the gutters or riding my motorcycle with all the goofballs that are out on the road. I’m just going to keep making her mad at me so that when I am gone, she can forgive me for all my faults.
As hot as it is outside, it is 20 degrees hotter in my office, so for this week I am going in to take a cold shower. Remember to love your children and to worship your bride. God Bless.