Years ago dad got a cane.
I am not sure at first why he got one and in fact, I teased him there for awhile that he even had one.
It was a cane made from wood that was all twisted up from the knots, and it was sanded the best you could because there were so many knots in it. It was a very beautiful cane and I cannot remember exactly how he got it. However, on the cane it had a brass plate riveted to the top of it, just below the handle. On the plate it read…….
“I Walk in Mine Integrity”
That is one thing about the older generation. Integrity. My dad had it oozing out all over. When I was 18, fresh out of High School I went to work in construction for my dad. I was a laborer and a shovel fit in my hand all to well. One of dads coworkers, was also one of dads best friends had worked for dad for many, many years. Dad was a construction Superintendent and did projects that were in the millions of dollars. Anyway, this friend of my fathers pulled me aside, probably because I was a know-it-all graduated from High School BRAT, anyway, he said to me,”Do you understand why your father gets these huge jobs?’ I replied no. He simply said “Because of his honesty and integrity” I thought, wow, I never thought of my dad like that.
From that point I watched closely as my father dealt with sub-contractors and many labors in order to get a job done right and on time. I mean we are talking jobs like Universities, High Schools, Industrial buildings and so on. In fact the time that I worked for dad, I helped build an elementary school and a medical center.
The more I observed, the more I realized dad’s friend was right. Dad expected from people no more than what he would do, BUT, dad did an honest days work, and then some, quality work, and then some. If a mistake was made by him, he was first to admit it and then make it right. I heard many conversations with sub bosses about their work ethics and the quality of work. He would observe everything and then either tell them thank you, or if they did not conform, dad would run them off the job if they did not get it done according to specs, and then find another sub to get the work done. He would not tolerate laziness, or idleness. I was expected to do the same thing. I was not allowed to rest on a shovel, or a rake. I had better be moving and working all the time.
Another quick story. One day we had to pour concrete into a floor. 80 yards of cement were coming and it was very cold outside. The concrete pump truck froze up and me and another labor had to wheelbarrow the entire 80 yards in. We would go dump our wheelbarrow and when we got back to the cement truck another one was already full waiting for me to take it. Personally, my dad watched all day long and THAT DAY………..I gave my all. I really thought I was going to die at the end of the day.
That summer I worked….. I developed muscles I never knew I had, AND that summer, my father taught me what honesty and integrity was all about. Sadly though, there is not much integrity, or honesty going on in the world today.