Do You Dig It? Dad Does


I learned the value of hard work by working hard. –Margaret Mead

For as long as I can remember, my Dad has been digging. Some of my earliest memories of time spent with him take place on the wrong end of a shovel. Over our years together we have dug countless holes, trenches, drains, ditches, wells and a myriad of other cavities. We have toiled by day and by night, been half frozen, rained on, and have surely sweat a river all in the name of digging. I’ve often wondered about his fascination with digging, curious as it is, and sometimes even a little nuts.

Here is my Dad in action on one of our biggest digs. He is 71 years old in this photo. I did say it could get a little nuts didn’t I?

My Mom recently gained some insight into the origins of his burrowing behavior, when he shared a childhood experience. At just 13 years old he and a friend were given the opportunity to earn some money over summer break. A neighbor cattle farmer had a barn in need of cleaning. As it turns out the neighbor had neglected to clean his barn for such an extended period of time that the manure was so deep the cows were literally hitting their heads on the roof! Now there’s a problem you likely don’t have. My Dad and his friend accepted the offer and dove into the cavernous pile with their shovels. Five days a week, using the neighbors tractor and manure spreader, they would shovel this massive accumulation one load at a time. To keep the flow going they would take turns driving the tractor and spreading while the other chipped away at the pile, loosening up the next load to shovel upon return. By the end of the summer the concrete floor of that barn was evident once again. The reward for this task, $3.00 a day to each of two 13 year old boys.

My Dad took some of his hard earned money and bought a motor scooter for $50.00 from a relative. Funny thing is, my Dad is now 71 years old (and still digging) and I have heard stories of that motor scooter and the adventures it carried him on delivered with  great delight many times over the years; but never how it came to be his until just a few days ago. Only now do I realize I’ve been hearing how he got that scooter all these years one shovel full at a time, while “digging with Dad,” I just wasn’t listening. Thank you Dad, for grounding me in a good work ethic and giving me the opportunity to realize the joy and satisfaction of reaping the fruits of hard labor and a job well done.


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  • Janice Hensley

    Yes. Being the oldest in the family the “digging with dad” stories are plentiful! But, I have said Jamie’s exact words and have been very thankful for the work ethics which are “dug” and planted deep inside of me from growing up on a farm. ( As a kid I thought differently of course.) I am here to tell you, we DO reep what we sow.
    “Thanks for the many lessons dad”. Money can’t buy those!

  • Patti

    Not only is it an amazing story itself, it’s a testament to what patience will do for anyone who’s willing to commit the time to a job. I would imagine that scooter gave him more than a little pleasure THEN, and the memories continue to give him pleasure NOW. And, the time spent with you instilling that work ethic more than makes up for shoveling manure all those years ago. Well done, I do say!

  • Irina

    This is an awesome story! Love the picture, too. It is increadible!
    Wishing your dad many more years of digging fun!