GRANDPOP – THE POST HOLE DIGGER
Howdy Friends! It had been a long day. Not as hot a the past few weeks, but warm enough to work up a sweat. This stretch of fence hadn’t been neglected, but Grandpop had not given it the attention it should have had. For about 20 years now.
It wasn’t my normal practice to go out of my way to help Grandpop build fence. I’d had enough of that in my youth. So when the subject came up at Sunday dinner, and all of my deaf ear tricks failed, I knew I’d been conscripted.
“See ya Saturday, Son.” Grandpop had sent us off Sunday evening. And I knew I’d better dig out old jeans and gloves, and drift in.
For the past few months I’d been devoting most of my Saturdays to a young fella who was wrestling with a rough patch. His daddy had left, and his mother had her hands full. She’d mentioned at church her son could benefit from a little direction, and came right out one Sunday and asked me to check in with him. My wife and I took him home that Sunday with us. Just overnight. We dropped him off at school the next day, and planned on a Saturday get together.
We fell into a nice little routine of Saturday visits. Mowed the lawn together. I drove the tractor, he pulled weeds along the garden fence. That’s how that sort of thing should play out. A few weeks back I supervised while he painted the porch roof. That turned out to be a hoot.
One Saturday we practiced holding down the stream bank, our feet propped up on a fat log. Waiting for the fish to bite. We even landed a catfish one time.
We discussed things of importance as we worked and outsmarted fish. And in time the lad opened up to me with his struggles. And we could see inside the lad was good kid who was a little confused about the paths life offers. Nothin’ most young ‘ins don’t wrestle with. And something we adults are commanded to help direct.
So when Grandpop drafted me to help reset that old stretch of fence. Well I naturally drafted the boy.
We arrived early. Needed breakfast and coffee to jump start. And we set out for the back end of the ranch. We could have used Grandpop’s old truck to haul the posts, wire and tools. But Grandpop figured it would be good for the lad to try his hand at driving a team. So half the morning was spent hitching up. We’ll just leave the talk about how the drivin’ went for another visit. But eventually we got to the fence, and went to work.
It was about two hours after lunch, and about fifty yards and fifteen posts into the fence when we sat down under a grand oak for a sweet tea break. “How long are we going to work at this?” The lad asked as he admired the neat little rows of blisters on his hands.
“That ol’ post bar will sure raise a few of them blisters, won’t it?” Grandpop chuckled.
The boy had to grin back. “Fishin’ isn’t as hard on my hands.”
“Now that’s the truth!” Grandpop agreed.
The boy put on a solemn face. He looked Grandpop dead in the eye. “Why is everything so hard?”
“Hard?” Grandpop tossed him a sideways grin. “Makin’ fence?”
The lad walked to the wagon. Pulled out a post from the pile. “Not really talking about the fence.”
“Ahhh. I see. You mean figurin’ out the this and the that’s of life.” Grandpop helped tug on the stubborn post.
“I think that’s what I mean.” The boy said.
“Well, son, I don’t think I’m smart enough to answer that.” Grandpop looked up along the new stretch of fence. “The way it seems to me, God gives us the post hole digger. It’s up to us to dig the holes.”
~ Gitty Up, Dutch.