I was at work yesterday, and since I was working a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m shift at my local supermarket, yesterday became today rather quickly. While I was restocking the grocery shelves, a couple of songs played on the sound system that reminded me that the today that yesterday had just become was Father's Day.
Neither song was being played in particular because it was Father's Day. Each of the songs is played at least twice a week as I go from aisle to aisle stocking groceries and straightening them so the customers can easily get what they need. I don't believe I had ever heard either song until 3 months ago when both my previous jobs were put in a holding pattern because of a certain pandemic playing through on the golf course of life.
The first, Something to be Proud Of by Montgomery Gentry makes me cry every time I hear it. I think part of that is context because most of the times I hear it when the lyric "When you're doing what you're able and putting food upon the table." I am standing on a milk crate literally and figuratively in the process of putting food upon the table.
I may have never made a living using the degree I obtained from university. However my Dad raised me with a work ethic that I still have to this day and even though I've had my share of "nothing" jobs, they have always meant something to me and the people I work for.
"Something To Be Proud Of"
There's a story that my daddy tells religiously Like clockwork every time he sees an opening In a conversation about the way things used to be Well I'd just roll my eyes and make a bee-line for the door But I'd always end up starry-eyed, cross-legged on the floor Hanging on to every word Man, the things I heard
It was harder times and longer days Five miles to school, uphill both ways We were cane switch raised, and dirt floor poor 'Course that was back before the war Yeah, your uncle and I made quite a pair Flying F-15's through hostile air He went down but they missed me by a hair He'd always stop right there and say...
That's something to be proud of That's a life you can hang your hat on That's a chin held high as the tears fall down A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out Like a small town flag a-flyin' Or a newborn baby cryin' In the arms of the woman that you love That's something to be proud of
Son graduatin' college, that was mama's dream But I was on my way to anywhere else when I turned 18 Cuz when you gotta fast car you think you've got everything I learned quick those GTO's don't run on faith I ended up broken down in some town north of L.A. Working maximum hours for minimum wage Well, I fell in love, next thing I know The babies came, the car got sold I sure do miss that old hot rod But you sure save gas in them foreign jobs Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down If you're ashamed how I turned out Well, he lowered his voice, then he raised his brow Said, lemme tell ya right now
That's something to be proud of That's a life you can hang your hat on You don't need to make a million Just be thankful to be workin' If you're doing what you're able And putting food there on the table And providing for the family that you love That's something to be proud of
And if all you ever really do is the best you can Well, you did it man
That's something to be proud of That's a life you can hang your hat on That's a chin held high as the tears fall down A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out Like a small town flag a-flyin' Or a newborn baby cryin' In the arms of the woman that you love That's something to be proud of That's something to be proud of Yeah, that's something to be proud of That's something to be proud of Now that's something to be proud of
The second song was Busy Man by Billy Ray Cyrus which warns about the other side of providing for your family and that is losing focus of why you're working in the first place. I'm more of a Cat's in the Cradle kind of guy, but this has a happier outcome.
Billy Ray Cyrus Lyrics
Play "Busy Man"
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There's a little boy out in the driveway his basketball in hand Saying Daddy could we play a little one on one You pat him on the back and say not now son I'm a busy man
His sister's out on the sidewalk settin' up a lemonade stand Hey daddy don't you want to buy a glass from me You say maybe later can't you see I'm a busy man
You got to go got to run hit it hard and get it done Everyone can see you're going far You got responsibilities a crazy schedule that you keep And when you say that time's a wastin' You don't know how right you are busy man
There's a woman in the bedroom crying sayin' I thought we had plans You say honey I'm sorry I'll make it up When the job slows down and I'm not such a busy man
You got to go got to run...
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words If only I had spent more time at work
There's a call one day from the office they need you down in Birmingham You say no way the weekend's mine I got plans with the kids and a date with my wife I'm a busy man
You got to go got to run take a break and have some fun Those that love you most say you've come far Got some new priorities in that schedule that you keep And when you say that time's a wastin' Now you know how right you are busy man busy man
Phil Vischer one of the creators of Veggie Tales. Veggie Tales started as a children's video series and did not only contain sound Biblical teaching for children. It also was quite hillarious for the whole family.
Vischer has worked on other projects since Veggie Tales such as Jelly Telly and What's In the Bible. He also has a podcast called Holy Post which this video comes from. In the video Vischer gives a 17 minute history lesson about racia inequality in this country. It is both harrowing and fascinating. If you are a big Veggie Tale fan, it may be a little disconcerting as at points it sounds like Bob the Tomato is giving a history lesson. (Vischer provide's Bob's voice for Veggie Tales.) Once you get past that, I hope you are as challenged by this as I was.
My Son Charlie graduates from high school today. Charlie was home schooled from birth to fifth grade. He was the 2nd born in our family. When he was born my wife was already "playing" school with our 2 year old and Big Dude (one of a multitude of nick names we saddled the poor kid with over the years) was incorporated into their home school routine right along. He went to public school in 6th grade, we were fortunate to home school him again for 7th grade and did his last 5 years of school in public school.
Charlie excelled in high school and we are very proud of his accomplishments. But this is my blog not his, so let's talk about me.
I have had many roles in Charlie's life. I was the principal of our home school. I stayed at home when he was in first to fifth grade and was his main teacher. I helped him learn to read. I taught him how to ride a bike. I've been his coach, his youth group leader for 6 years. We have gone on two mission trips together and he has even been my co-worker at a local movie theatre.
Our relationship has changed quite a bit over the years. I've gone from his hero to the embarrassing guy with the bad puns. This year has been a transition year as he prepares for whatever the next chapter of his life is going to be and I get use to the notion that he will be penning these chapters almost entirely on his own. I've been trying to step back from a leadership role in his life to an advisory one. Something I've been getting a little better at lately, mainly because I was doing it so very badly to begin with.
Before I end this post with some uncaptioned glimpses from over the years, I will share a hopeful anecdote. Over the past few years Charlie has taken up walking, running and cycling: 3 activities I've really enjoyed in my life. Last Sunday, he went cycling with a friend from the youth group and they dropped by the house on a way to a local park to toss a frisbee around. Frisbee is another thing I really enjoy, I walked out to the front yard to say hi and bye when Charlie invited me to come and play frisbee with them. I'm crying even now as I recall how overwhelmed I was by the invitation. I went and I had a great time and I think they did as well. I hope this is just one of many activities that Charlie and I will enjoy together in the years to come. Not only as father and son but as adults, and as friends.