I think it was in about in 1949 that I began to take note how people kept to their promises. Now this was not something I did to try and be wise. This was one of self-preservation more than anything. Having gone through the age of two wearing my shirt that warned people “I was a little devil”, I had to take note when to behave or not. You see there were some of my care givers that threatened me “within an inch of my life”, if I didn’t behave. Then there were those times they were going to “tan my hide”, for sure. Or, most probably, my buns would be so sore I couldn’t sit down for a week or two. So, you see, I had to change my actions depending on who was the babysitter for the week. I had to remember just who actually carried through with the threats. Now, there was the threat “I am going to tell when the parents get home”.  That one didn’t carry much weight in my decision-making process.  I knew that would mean “standing in the corner,” or maybe a tongue lashing. Those were minor and only slowed me down just a bit. Now, I must remind you fine folks, I was not a destructive young fella. I was just filled with curiosity, with little or no fear. I might be up a tree or exploring the woods. I might even be following a creature or two through the fields. It seems that folks just did not like the idea of a three-year-old running wild around the farm. I will admit, I probably used Dad’s language a bit too much. But then I was threatened with the fact that the darning needle bugs were going to sew my mouth shut. If they should ever hear me swear, they would surely attack and stop me from swearing. This did slow me down for a bit. Until, one day I spied a couple of darning needle bugs.  I decided it was time to test this threat. I found a nice flat stick and slowly got closer to the bugs. I softly said a quick swear word to see just what they would do. I was totally prepared to fight to the death if they should come my way. Surprisingly, they totally ignored me. OK, let’s be just a little bit braver. I took the Babe Ruth stance and let out a string of words that would make the minister blush. Nothing, they still ignored me. It was then I decided that threat was just words to slow me down.  Unfortunately, adopting that style of life, got me into trouble also. You see, there were a lot of adults that just did not like a kid my size swearing at them. Especially the teachers. So, I began swapping words around to help me stay as close to normal that I was ever going to be. But I had an aunt that always treated me like a sweet little angel. I never did swear with her around. I was always the best behaving youngster when she was visiting. It seemed that the nicer they were to me, then the better behaved I would become. At times, this made life a bit boring for me but that was all right. They didn’t visit that much anyway. I began to realize at a young age, “if” I was nice first, they might be nice back. I even tried this when I was in the second grade. For that one year, things went well for me. But we moved the next year and the whole learning process started all over again. Now, as an adult, wearing the hat of construction foreman, words and attitude played a great part almost every day. These were men that words such as “oh gosh,” or “golly gee,” did not work at all. A lot of times, sentences had to be short and to the point. Work was in progress and actions needed to be done now. There was no time to take them by the hand and explain.  In one particular instance, we were doing a big job and it was not going quite right. The boss was a bit rough with one of the workers. The fella leaned on the hood of a truck and started crying. This is not something one usually does on a construction job. We let him do his thing, but he changed rather quickly. I turned to look at him and low and behold he was going to even the score. He had a shovel in his hands and was in the Babe Ruth home run stance.  He was ready to show the boss just how he felt. Quick actions on my part saved the day. There were words tossed back and forth between us and the gentleman left the job. This type of life taught me much about working with adult workers. It is absolutely fine to say “please, and thank you”, but be prepared to flip that coin and be “the boss”, if the situation calls for it.



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