People Who Like to Work

man sitting on porch


The heat of summer has continued in Brasstown. Last week’s 90+ degree days found The Deer Hunter replacing the roof of one of the rec buildings in Murphy. He said to say it was hot was an understatement.

The building they were working on was near the tennis courts. The county has hired a crew to repave the courts so there was folks working out in the heat there too.

The Deer Hunter’s attention was grabbed by one man who look way too old to be doing hard manual labor, much less in the humid heat of the day.

He kept his eye on the old guy and finally had the opportunity to talk to one of the other men on the crew. The Deer Hunter asked about the man and was told he was 90 years old and just plain loved to work. Said he didn’t see no use in sitting at home when he could be out there doing what he enjoyed doing, which was work.

The follow day The Deer Hunter continued to watch the old man noticing he was still going strong although he was now sporting a cane to help him get along. He had the cane in one hand and a post hole digger in the other.

I got a good laugh over the image of the old man with the cane working circles around some of his fellow employees.

The Deer Hunter’s story reminded me of one Granny told us about Pap.

We all used to kid Pap about his love of work. He was never one to sit around, until his health forced him to. Like the old man on the paving crew, Pap genuinely liked to work and by work I mean work hard. Granny always said he got it from his mother. She said Mamaw Marie was the workingest woman she ever seen.

During WWII Papaw Wade, Pap’s father, was rejected for service due to a leg injury he’d suffered as a boy. So instead of going off to war, Papaw Wade went off to Newport News VA to work in the ship yards.

Pap’s mother went to see Wade and left Pap in the care of his Grandmother Carrie.

One day Pap was helping Carrie in her flower garden when he suddenly said “I just wish you’d go ahead and die.” Carrie said “Jerry now why in the world would you say something like that?” Pap said “Well then I wouldn’t have to work in your flower beds no more.”

Granny said over the years Pap’s parents would tell the story and laugh.

When Granny told Paul and me the story about Pap we both said we couldn’t believe he didn’t like to work as a child since he loved it so much as an adult. Granny said “Well he probably would have liked it fine if they’d been working in the garden instead of the flower beds.”


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  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    September 25, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Tipper wouldn’t you love to go back one day and spend with all the old timers who loved to work we all did work hard and enjoyed it I wish I could work and clean house like I once did, but old age may slow you down but not the blessed memories we have of days gone by. Tipper your such a blessing to us your readers. Thank you for reminding us how we used to work as ole folks then said those young whipper snappers can ‘t keep up with us old coots. Now I can only dream of how I enjoyed working hard

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Your story about liking to work reminds me of my husband. At age 80, he is the working-est man I’ve ever seen, as you say, working circles around his younger employees.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 24, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I was wrong. It was in my Trash Folder. It has been there before. I moved it. …Ken

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 24, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    I agree with what PINNACLECREEK said, “What is it with these ole timers?” My dad was a worker like that. He never sat just idle when he was able to work. I had so many projects I helped keep him busy. I remember my mother reminded me he was in his late eighties once when I had him out working in the heat of the day. There were very few undone tasks around his house.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I wish the young people of today would develop these kinds of work ethics. It sickens me the way they feel so entitled to everything and don’t think they need to earn anything and how they are handed trophies just for “participation” instead of needing to earn the trophies. Our world has changed so drastically since your Daddy’s generation and the old man your husband observed, and it certainly has not changed in a good way. I am the last one to lose hope, but I look around and don’t ever see things getting back to the way they were back then. It makes me sad, and I pray so hard for our nation and just cry over it so many times. The only thing we can do is pray and do the right thing ourselves. That is truly all we have any control over, and I sure do long for the old days!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 24, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I had to look under “Recent Posts” again to comment. I hope it’s not because I got a Satellite to get my stuff on now, but I didn’t receive an email of the Blind Pig and the Acorn today. Last week I had the same problem.

    My daddy was working up in the holler, across from the Topton Baptist Church, replacing the porch when a lady fell through. Her leg was stuck, Daddy was under the porch and pushed her leg back up thru the crack. She was on the Heavy side, so daddy had a little trouble getting her leg back up thru the crack. As soon as it was Dinnertime, daddy told Mama about his experiences of the morning. Mrs. Benham wasn’t hurt. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 24, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Work you don’t like is just harder than work you do. My Dad was a hard worker to but he was not ever into flowers.

    The guy with the cane and post hole digger sounds like my father-in-law. He is 86 and says he is not just going to sit down.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 24, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I do admire these hard-working folks. Granny was one of them and Mama said she like to have killed her when she first married into the family. My husband keeps on the go too but I’m not fond of hard work. I mainly do just what I feel I have to and of course in the end I wind up with a huge mess to clean up in a marathon cleaning session ( in the middle of one right now). I do much better with the garden stuff preserving but my husband & son do most of the dirt work. Partly illness & physical limitations but I am one of the lazy ones!!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Your post made me think of my dad. If he wasn’t at his day job he was working on something at the house or in the yard. When I was younger I remembered reading in the Bible about “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” or something like that so I thought his Mother must have read that to him. His Mother was a worker-bee and so was he. I wasn’t much until I married and had children. lol Seems I’m a lot like my Dad and Mother, I’ve turned into a worker-bee too.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    September 24, 2019 at 7:30 am

    On the hottest day of the summer, my friend’s 98 year old father was cutting his grass on his riding lawn mower in the middle of the day. She said there was no use in trying to stop him.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    September 24, 2019 at 7:14 am

    It is so wonderful that you have happy memories of your Pap. I have happy memories of my Dad and Mom in addition to my grandparents on my Dad’s side of the family. Never knew grandparents on Mom’s side since they were gone before I was born. The phrase, “workingest woman I’ve ever seen” was also said about my Mom. It seems to me that some people seem to enjoy working at any task?

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 7:04 am

    That is my dad and many other Appalachian men I have known. What is it with these ole timers? It was a proud day for the church when my Uncle Dale got “saved”, because he spent the rest of his life working to improve that church. No more hiring for anything, because he helped roof, remodel, and landscape. My dad loved to work and loved to learn. He also insisted we learn everything we could, because we “never know when we might need it.” He worked so much without any pleasurable hobbies, I thought he needed a break. I got him a nice fishing pole for his birthday. Probably about a year later he gave it back to me because he didn’t like to just waste anything, He told me he would never get time to use it. I loved to work, but only at what I liked. Much like Granny said about Pap and working in a garden. Working in flowers is okay, but just something about a garden of vegetables. Even in advanced years, if I get stressed I don’t try to figure out what pill will help. I just get busy painting or some type of work that is needed. I was taught by the best–my Dad.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 6:54 am

    My first big job out of High School was at the shipyard, and there was an Old Black Man in our crew that could work circles around most of us not fast but steady at it, that gentleman was in his late 70’s still working, everybody called him Bones, he cursed like a sailor and he chewed twist tobacco and also smoked it in a pipe, now anybody who can hold up to that working in a shipyard has got to be tough. He’d say, you see that Boy right there, “he ain’t worth 2 dead flies”. We’d all just laugh at him, and his way of putting things.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 24, 2019 at 11:36 am

      TMC. I really like that expression, “” he ain’t worth two dead flies””. I know a few people like that.

  • Reply
    Leon Pasntenburg
    September 24, 2019 at 6:48 am

    My dad liked to work. And I was his assistant. We lived on a farm, and every weekend, there was some building project, in addition to the daily chores that go along with raising livestock. The enjoyment of hard core manual labor never got passed on to me!

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