My Dad's Missing Work Gloves
My Dad Was The Best
at keeping things placed neatly and in order. He told me at age 13, that organizing saves time and saving time lets you get the job finished quickly and ready to do another one. I might have not told you that he was a rural genius. If not, I am doing that right now. I was, and still am, very proud of my dad and the men like him. I know that this may be theatrical in phrase, but these men built our country, along with the same type of women who dared to tell the male-dominated world, that we can do it!
And at the risk of sharing too many details about my dad, I am going to tell you one more and then rest. I have told you about his work boots that I still think about. I have told you about his '55 Chevy pick-up truck and now I am sharing my thoughts about my dad's missing work gloves. I do not want to leave anything left behind when I finish this piece.
My dad was born to work. I have to believe this. From the time I was born, then began learning what was what, all that this man ever done was work. Of course he was one terrific provider, but the thing about him was that it was fun and relaxation to work. And I can testify that over the years, he started some tough work projects, and with a smile, finished them all with his sincere smile and using his work gloves to wipe his forehead from the sweat that came from him working.
I Will Tell You The Truth
about my dad when it comes to working and I am attempting to do just that, but there were those times that he went with a couple of his friends who loved to play music for people and my dad was with them on all-fours because he was a self-taught musician and had played the fiddle (not violin, to dad) at age seven. His mom, my grandmother, told people that she had sit him in the middle of her bed and to occupy him from hindering her from doing some housework, handed him a fiddle that his dad was keeping because it looked like it was a antique.
But my grandmother, who was a member of the Old School Southern Ladies Circle, and did not lie, said that (my dad) just picked up the talent of playing fiddle and in about four months, he was playing six fiddle tunes by himself. Now tell me that he was not special. But don’t.
Work came first for my dad. When he went for a day’s work, he was dressed for the job. He wore his famous work boots and his also-famous work gloves that he loved as much as his work boots. When he wore his “tools,” the work boots and work gloves, I truly believe that he thought that he was Superman in the flesh. I will give you an example: once he was riding his landlord’s tractor and up ahead was a big rattlesnake that dad knew that the serpent would meet him in that field one day, so he hopped off the tractor, grabbed the snake by the neck and squeezed the life out of it and threw it in the grass near the field that he was plowing. Guess what he was wearing on his hands: you got it. His tough and enduring work gloves. No, I cannot disprove that his confidence came from those work gloves by allowing him to do away with that poisonous serpent, but I cannot prove that the work gloves didn’t.
My Dad Was Not One
to take life on a dare or trivial chance. No. He studied his work when someone had hired him to do something for them, that they could not do, and one was clearing some brush out of the way of a neighbor’s garden area and surely, he went wearing his work gloves and work boots. He was the perfect worker when he was dressed with his favorite decorations, his boots and gloves.
The only time that I ever saw him remove his gloves and that was to eat lunch with my mother and me when he was working close enough to our house. Then and only then, dad sat down at our kitchen table and said grace over our meal and ate the food that he dearly-loved—garden-fresh green beans, crowder peas, cabbage, collards and a nice cake of cornbread. And put in his favorite drink, iced southern sweet tea and you have a meal that anyone of royalty would feel honored to eat with us.
Then while I was eating, I viewed my dad do one thing that amazed me. He was not wearing his work gloves, and even at my early age, I knew that his work gloves would not be appropriate while eating. It was absolutely the only time that dad did not wear his work gloves. Somehow and yet so mysteriously, that one little deed was not seen by anyone else at the table, only me. And to this day, I still hold this in my loving memories that I have of my dad.
The Years Drifted Away
and I grew into a young man, but still held to my rural roots in northwest Alabama in Marion County to be exact. Dad still did a great job of share-cropping to help ends meet and somehow I became concerned when it looked like dad just did a lot of work to make him happy, regardless of how low his pay would be from time to time.
When dad grew older, and slower of his steps, I began to make myself a mental list of the many ways that my dad could use for his work gloves, for just using them to wear while lifting rough timber, hay bales, or rocks if they needed removing from one of his fields where he was to plant some share cropper’s seed.
Dad’s work gloves were sometimes used to mark a particular place where he was measuring off the acreage where the cotton seed would end and the corn was to begin. Dad did not use any collegiate or agricultural system of math to compute his number of acreage in dividing the corn and cotton, I felt it as he was given a gift of mathematics to do such work. So his work gloves were not only used to help a marking spot where he was to do some planting, his work gloves helped dad use natural mathematics to be exact at he difference in cotton and corn.
Once I was blessed to witness dad as he helped peel a bushel or two of fresh tomatoes as he wore his work gloves to act as a guard against the sharp kitchen knife against him causing a severe accident when he was peeling the tomatoes.
Of course there were more uses that dad used to use his work gloves, and I can tell you that of any old age in 2019, I dearly-miss those work gloves today. Many is the time that I would yell at my wife as we were both outside working in our lawn when my lawn mower took a stubborn spell to not start when I would refill it with gas.
If any of you has ever used a push lawn mower, then you will understand the stress and frustration that comes from yanking over and over with the string that is supposed to start the mower engine. You bet I know that my hands would not have become so red with rubbing and pulling the motor string. But if I were wearing my dad’s work gloves, my hands would have been fine.
And what is probably the most-used task that I learned about dad’s work gloves was when on another summer weekend that I was working outside of our yard and ran across several vines of Morning Glory, but professional gardeners will know that this plant is not poisonous, just aggravating.
When I would wind a few loops of the vine around my hands, I could pull them out of the ground in no time—and with no cuts or burns with dad’s work gloves on. Yes, my chores were easier completed with my dad’s work gloves that he left me in many of the things that he passed along when he passed away.
But one day arrived when I headed out to do a little weeding in my shrubbery and I was about to put-on my dad’s work gloves. (I say ‘my dad’s work gloves out of respect for my dad.) Horror went through me. I became scared when I looked on the wall where I had put up a piece of wood that acted for a good place to store useful tings like dad’s gloves, keys, and wrenches and such. No matter how much searching, I was numb to the fact that my work gloves were gone.
My wife joined the search and then she agreed that my work gloves were not there. We searched high and low, inside my shop and out, still no work gloves. Obviously, my wife and I faced it . . .I did not have any more work gloves. This tragic event almost brought me to tears for how much that I loved that pair of gloves.
Then a few years later, it dawned on me that as much as my dad was enjoying his time in Heaven, probably tending those perfect fields of flowers, that even in Heaven, he could not do much of a job unless he was wearing his work gloves.
Like a glove.
October 31, 2918____________________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery