I was named after my great-uncle, Dave Peebler. He was born in 1893 and grew up on a farm. His parents were hard working people so the family always had enough of everything. But, times were tough and money was in short supply. As a result, everything was used and nothing was wasted. All belongings were cared for because replacements were not easy to get. Being frugal and conservative were necessary parts of life.
When I was in grade school I learned a lesson from Uncle Dave that I’ve never forgotten. Uncle Dave and Aunt Rachel had picked up my sister and I and we were in the back seat of their car and going somewhere. We were traveling south on State Street, the main drag in our town. State Street was one of those pretty brick streets that caused your tires to hum as you rolled along. The north end of the street was all residential and at High Street you started down a hill that lasted for six blocks and then the street leveled out for about four blocks of business district.
We got a couple of blocks down the hill and came to a place where some city maintenance men were working. They had placed those sawhorse-type barricades around a hole that they were digging manually. They had removed the bricks from the surface of the street and piled them off to the side. A pile of dirt was beginning to grow as they worked with their shovels and pick axes. We all looked as we went past and wondered just what the problem was but continued on toward wherever we were going.
An hour or two later we were returning and drove past the site again. Now, it was raining and the men were gone. There were three shovels and two pick-axes, caked with mud, and hap-hazardly tossed on the dirt pile and left to rust. Uncle Dave saw this and started shaking his head. He passionately spat out “God damn a man that won’t take care of his tools!” The vehemence of his voice and words made a great impression on me and I have never forgotten it. Even today, if I have done a job and don’t want to put my tools away as I should because I’m in a hurry, or if I don’t want to clean them up, Uncle Dave’s words come back to me. I end up doing the job the right way because I don’t want the guilt that would come from not doing it properly.
December 26, 2013