“The hands of a brick layer, the heart of a poet.”
Saumel J Kirkwood/ Former Governor of Iowa
I’m probably going to step on a few toes with this one, but you know what, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it
I’ve been given the privilege this Fall of teaching 8 young men in a construction program. I am 30 plus years removed from my High school days- a season in my life I would not want to repeat.
Since completing High School, I’ve spent 30 years together with the same woman- (and we still like each other), We’ve raised 4 children now in their early to late 20′s- ( and have a healthy relationship with each of them).
In addition to teaching , I’m a general contractor.
I am a people person, and have known and worked alongside literally dozens of men (and women) in the construction industry with every personality type you could imagine.- I n all these years, there is only 1 man who hated my guts- a former bible college graduate twerp with a mouth.
I love pouring cement, stick framing a roof, riding motorcycles, writing poetry, baking my grandma’s rye bread from scratch, shooting a semi automatic rifle, working in our apple orchard, stacking bales in the haymow, butchering chickens, bringing my wife and I coffee in bed
What am I trying to say? My feet are firmly planted in real life.
When I was a young man ( like the guys in my class)- there were very few healthy role models- at least role models of what I would consider a masculine male- Most of the “masculine” males were either stoic males without emotion, or jocks whose sole purpose in life was to “get some”…great qualities to have in a future husband don’t you think?
I am here to tell you, a real man can be tough and know how to stand his ground, but he can also be tender, and know how to admit when he’s wrong. Real men are in touch with their feelings- regardless of what anybody else may be telling you.
One of my best friends from New Jersey would probably be thought of as stoic by the rest of the people in his life….and yet, I’ve gotten to know the man behind the mask- I know things about him his wife probably doesn’t know- he can be funny and fun loving as anyone , he cares, hurts, worries, just like you and I- but I’m guessing you (and his wife ) will never see this side of him unless you established a level of trust with him.
I love working with the biker/just got out of jail types. I love to look them in the eye and mess with their minds. Three years ago,I spent the day with Johnny- he was helping out a friend of mine remodel a building. Johnny was on work release- muscular, in his mid 30′s- I came with my sawzall, and chop saw with a diamond blade. My job was to cut a hole through the side of the masonry building 2 stories in the air. I looked Johnny in the eye and said, ‘”I’m afraid of heights” (because I am)
He looked @ me and said with a little sarcasm, “Man, what kind of carpenter are you, afraid of height?”
About 1/3 of the way into the process, there was an accident- Johnny, accidently stabbed me with my sawzall- new blade, with pigeon dung on it- slid right into my forearm like a steak knife- we made a trip to the emergency room..2 hours later, we were back- my arm all stitched and wrapped up. I couldn’t leave because we had to finish the project- I had the tools and know how…I watched Johnny as he struggled with the chop saw- it was driving me nuts..finally, I said, “Let me have it”- I grabbed the saw with both hands and went back to work- two hours later, we were done- Johnny, looked @ me when I finished with the saw and said, “Man, you are one bad @#s .”
Music to my ears.
Thoughts, comments, questions?
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