I pride myself a little too much on my curiosity, my love of knowledge, my hunger for understanding. Teaching all day you’d think that our pursuit of such would provide me the most pleasure. But today, I was able to re-aquaint myself with another part of my person. I had detention duty. One of the tasks we dreamed up for the detainees was for them to sort any pre-gathered and gather any as yet scattered cans and bottles for our recycling effort. I had two happy to help eight graders’ labor on loan, so we attacked the huge bag of un-emptied containers. They had gloves; I don’t usually bother with such. My companions learned why, their hands sweating into their gloves.
I t was their job to complete, but I could not help but lend a hand. It was fun, emptying and bagging and searching out strays. It reminded me of my favorite task when I was in middle school: emptying our rain barrel. My Dad rigged one up with bendable PVC piping and washtubs and garbage cans. Any man who had constructed most of the dams in North Georgia could rig up a rain barrel.
It was my job to empty it whenever it got full, even if it was raining. I complained a bit to do so in the thick of a storm, but inwardly, I relished the job. I took empty gallon jugs from the cellar and filled them from the barrel. Then I returned them to the cellar. It took about fifty jugs to empty the barrel. It was a pretty big job for a 75 pounder like me. Did I say how much I loved it? It was mindless and important and good for everybody and everything work. I could never wait for it to rain.
Emptying those bottles brought back memories of filling all those hundreds, maybe thousands of jugs when I was about those boys’ age. I so loved saving that good water for our azaleas and gardenias and vegetable garden – which all flourished. And I now love that it saved something in me – the value of good work done well.
Here’s to my boys today. You guys made it fun and good. Good on you.