Category Archives: Housekeeping

Energy and Determination

Tisn’t spring anymore; I don’t care what the calendar says.

It’s June in Texas and it’s hot.

So – it’s summer.

Since I missed spring cleaning, I’m doing it now. However, the deep cleaning will have to wait because currently I’m working on clutter.

Every so often it hits me how negligent I’ve been in keeping an even-handed approach to bringing stuff in vs. hauling stuff out. The recycling gets taken care of often (because it will run you out of the house if you don’t), but the other things (clothes, shoes, magazines, books, etc.) tend to mushroom because I simply don’t deal with them on a regular basis.

My sister and I were talking about this yesterday, and I commented that for the first many years of our married life, I was better at sorting through stuff and dispensing with it. Every so often I’d clean out a closet or a drawer and send anything salable to Goodwill or Salvation Army, and throw away junk and generally clean. Sadly enough, I’ve grown lax.

I could probably look around for excuses such illness or busyness, but that’s all they’d be: excuses. Because I know that, except for the worst days (like recovering from surgery), something can be done. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

My genetics didn’t bestow upon me the whirl of energy that my brother got, or the drive that my sister has, but I have enough of those traits to get by.

Our dad was a real go-getter. All his life, he worked manual labor jobs. Even during the last few years when he owned his own businesses, he left the office/bookwork duties to my mother.

His first job was hauling drinking water to the oil field hands in Oklahoma when he was 6 years old. He left school at a very young age to help care for his mother who was dying of tuberculosis. He rodeoed, worked in a Nabisco cracker factory, assembled Fords on the line in Detroit, learned welding and worked at Douglas Aircraft in the foundry, built houses, and a whole lot more. In his 50s, he roofed houses then he and my brother started their own business building service station canopies from Louisiana to west Texas, and north to Indiana.

At the age of 61, they bought a small local grocery/gas station/car repair business. Daddy was there at 6:00 every morning to open up, and washed down the concrete pad. Closing was at 8:00 p.m., after the shelves had been stocked and the floor mopped. He worked like that until the store was sold when he was 65. My brother has that kind of energy.

My mother was a hard worker, too, but mostly she was just determined. She graduated from high school at the age of 21 because it took that long to convince her dad that she really wanted a diploma; the nearest high school to their rural Kentucky home was far enough away that she had to go live with an uncle.

For her graduation, she wanted to look nice, so she earned money by picking strawberries to pay for her first permanent wave. It would’ve been the kind that had the curlers hooked by wires to a machine. ( And she looked lovely with that new perm.)

Daddy and Mama married when she was 28 and he was 34. I was born 11 years later. When she was 43, Mama developed a heart problem that required a lot of rest. But even so, she cooked breakfast and supper every day, sewed most of our clothes, hung the laundry out to dry and ironed it.

She did what she could as she could.

That’s the way both my parents were. They put one foot in front of the other when something had to be done. Neither one went out in search of extra work but they always did what had to/needed to be done and they didn’t complain about it. I have the idea that many, many people of my generation can say the same about their parents.

For instance, our yard was not landscaped – but it was mown every week.

Meals weren’t innovative and gourmet – but they were prepared every night.

My mother used to tell the story about learning to knit. My sister, Fran, had enrolled the two of them in a knitting class at the old Sears store at 21st and Yale. Although she’d been crocheting since she was a little girl, knitting was totally foreign to her.

She’d say that she knew she’d been the dumbest one in the class and she forced herself to concentrate on the stitches until her eyes watered and a tear dropped from her eye. The determination to not stop until she had mastered that stitch kept her from even wiping the tear away, but she learned it. It gave her such a feeling of accomplishment when teacher asked her to help one of the other students later on.

That happened when she was 50 years old. I would never call my mother an old dog – but she definitely learned new tricks!

Fran has that determination with getting things done. She used to work at one of the big petroleum companies in Tulsa typing in information for oil leases. Whole pages of nothing but numbers. Yikes! I’m doing good to handle phone numbers (and usually without area codes). Can you imagine sitting all day doing that?!

So, I’m not a dusk ’til dawn worker like my dad, and determination and I have more work to do on our relationship

but

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

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Filed under 1960's, Faith, Family, Housekeeping, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Scripture, Summer, Texas