Tea Obreht’s comment in the Sept/Oct issue of Poets and Writers magazine seemed pertinent to writers until my grandfather and my grandson came to mind. She says, “A good writing day will end with the desire to keep writing.” My initial reaction was to agree with her and keep reading her article, but then I thought that this might apply to more than just writing, and maybe to things in which I have no interest at all.
I thought first of my grandfather whose days were spent on the dairy farm where he was born for eighty-five years. He may have left the farm for a brief trip as many as half a dozen times, and only then when he had well-trained sons who could care for his animals. He knew his cows’ names and temperaments and rose in the heat of summer and cold of winter, often ahead of the sun, to milk them by hand. He loved digging in garden, mowing his pastures, or harvesting hay. There are few pictures, probably because nobody saw any glamour in his work, but the smile on his face in this one reflects his love of what he did. When I visited him after he was well past his eightieth birthday, he showed me his new tomato plants the extension service recommended that were promised to hold up and produce tomatoes in the summer heat. My memory has him dozing off in his chair at night, exhausted from the day, but always anticipating another morning to work on his farm.
Then in a recent conversation with my son and daughter-in-law that included a check on their son, a recent high school graduate who has been “finding himself,” I found another example. Our grandson Jack has recently landed a job as a plumber’s apprentice. The three of us could see the perfection in this. When Jack was a toddler, his father saw his penchant for opening doors and getting into the contents and began putting safety locks on the cabinets. He stopped about three doors in because Jack had come behind him and already figured out how to release the locks. As a schoolboy, they bought him Lego constructions that were labeled for children two or three years older than he was, and he spent many happy hours putting them together. My DIL said her phone has text messages now in the wee hours of the morning with an excited Jack preparing to go out to construction sites to figure out where all the pipes go.
While I have no desire to learn the names and temperaments of cows nor where the pipes go in a new home construction, I am glad there are people who look forward to doing just that. I like my milk and ice cream and love it when all the pipes work correctly in my house. I think I’ll just adjust Tea’s comment and hope it works for all of you. “A good day ends with the desire to follow your passion another day.”