SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Love's Labor Not Lost

(09/03/2012)

On Labor Day I try to remember the labor of my parents, their work hardiness, allowing them to have a decent life while on this earth, and allowing me to benefit from their labor, devotion and spirit.

Caught up in the out-of-control National Debt is the bashing of Social Security and Medicare as the great give-aways by the US government.

I am forever grateful to both of those programs related to my hard working parents. Both had just a few dollars given them by their respective retirement programs, after hard physical labor all their lives. Neither had retirement with health benefits.

The Social Security and Medicare benefits help them immensely until their death. I've always felt they earned them.

SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - My Mother's Hands

By Bob Weaver (2003)

My mother's hands were cracked, calloused and sometimes bleeding when she came home from the sweater factory in Spencer. Her day began early, before 5 a.m., and ran late into the evening, working frequent overtime.

Sweater factory pay was slightly above minimum wage, or based on how much production each worker could do - the "piece rate." She worked those extra hard jobs for a little better paycheck.

The trip from Hur to Spencer across twenty-five-years, was made without fail during the worst of circumstances in cars with rear-wheel drive, through ice storms, blizzards and floods, somehow managing to get over Liberty Hill or traversing Henry's Fork, a much more primitive road during the 50s and 60s.

Meals were always on the table, yes, the table, requiring our family to sit down and have the meal together. She cooked and baked and cooked and baked, making all the special items for the grandkids, on which she doted.

She supported my dad through painful times when the politics changed and he would get fired from his State Road Commission job.

During all those years she was a caregiver to her aging mother and invalid brother who moved next door, seeing their daily needs were met, seven days a week.

After she died at the age of 69 in 1985. I came home to do the sorting of things which my dad could not muster. I found the pay stubs from her sweater factory retirement, about $25 a month.

It can be said the plant provided a great opportunity for people to make a living, but the small retirement check caused me to mourn her hard work and low pay, and I went out on the front porch to weep.

So it is that hard work, dedication and sacrifice surrounded by her enduring love I remember about my mom this Labor Day

SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Giff's Labors, The Sweat Of Thy Brow

By Bob Weaver 2002

It has been nearly two years since by dad Giff died.

He, like my mother, was a blue-collar worker.

With him died some concern about the labors of my own life, that I never had a "real job" and did not "labor."

To labor was to sweat and flex muscle, sufficient hours each day to qualify as a working man, he believed.

His stories of work abounded, long hours, days at a time, fighting deep winter snows for the State Road, or digging with picks and shovels underneath roadways and up steep mountains laying pipeline.

The labor of survival on the WPA, knapping rock into the roadbeds of Calhoun during The Great Depression, earning a few survival dollars each week to stave starvation.

He was a history expert on The Great Depression.

Labor was a task to be performed erect and sturdy, not sitting in a chair or staring at the ceiling behind a desk or in front of a computer.

Not until the days of illness before his death, would he recline on a couch or bed during daylight hours. He was known to nap sitting in a chair, one eye open.

It was by the sweat of thy brow that one earns their keep. That was what Giff believed.

When I would try to explain how much mental energy I dispensed from my "wealth of knowledge" each day, he would quietly grumble.

Despite a couple of long careers, I never had a "real job."

It was on common ground we stood, however, as father and son, supporting one another in the challenges of life.

The day he died at 87, he said "I don't want to get down on that (ambulance) liter again, I would rather just sit here and go away."

Giff was proud of his labor.


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