This article was first published in April 2017.
By Trent Rosser
As I have said before, when I was younger I would spend my summers with my grandparents in a little town called Rogers, TX. This town was so small that it only had one red light, and at 10 pm, that light would start blinking. It had 2 convenience stores and one restaurant. The restaurant would switch owners and names at least twice during each summer. It was a good town to learn good old fashion values. My grandfather taught me quite a bit in that town.
The biggest building in the town was the school. It was also the nicest and largest building in town. The town itself had less than 2500 people, but the school and school grounds were the best for miles around. I have seen schools in much larger towns and cities and there is no comparison. Rogers Independent School District surpasses them all. Now I am a little bias on this, I did go to this school for a small time and my younger brother actually played quarterback on the football team and graduated from there, but that is not why I show favoritism toward the school. The reason is my grandfather worked there as one of the custodians. He went to work there in the 1980’s when he retired from the oil field. He had many chances to become the head custodian, but he did not want it. He just suited up and showed up.
Now my grandfather taught me how to drive in that town also. He had no problem taking my brother and myself out in the country, stop the truck, get in the passenger seat and have one of us drive. He let me drive into town once, just once. I was so scared that we would get pulled over that I was watching the speedometer and not the car in front of me. I heard “brake….. Brake……BRAKE!” Grandfather had a very gruff voice and when he raised his voice, it could scare the rattles off of a rattlesnake. Yep, I did not drive his new truck in town after that!
I complain a lot about the work ethic of the newer generations, and in my opinion I believe that the good old fashion work ethics of this country is gone. There are a few exceptions. There are some young ones that do have a good head on their shoulders and using their head for more than a hat rack. I have no problem working through breaks and through lunch. Working with and training younger people, I have found that all they want to do is play on their phone and collect a paycheck. They have no pride in what they do anymore. Grandpa (it’s what we called him) taught me my work ethic. Grandpa would get up around 5am, get dressed and drink coffee while my grandmother would fix breakfast. He would leave to go to work at 7:45 and drive the 8 blocks to work. Now when I say it was a small town, I was not kidding. Just to let the town know what time it was, the tornado siren would go off at noon every day. They only needed 1 siren! So Grandpa would hear the siren, go home and work in the shop (if it was winter), or in the garden until grandma would call him for lunch. He would come in, chit chat for a bit, then eat until he was full (grandma would cook for an army, but that’s a story for another time) and take off back to work. When 5 pm came around, he would head home and do the same until about dark. He would come inside, take a shower, and then fall asleep in his chair until grandma would wake him up to go to bed. This was a Monday through Friday ordeal.
The weekends were a little different. He would still wake up early and work in the yard and garden. He would also do little things for grandma. He would drive up and down the old dirt roads and pick wild green grapes. He would bring them home and grandma would make homemade green grape jelly and grandpa’s favorite, green grape wine (it was my favorite also!) Grandma would hide the wine so he could not find them and she would date them. Once, grandpa found a jar that she had hid a few years prior to him finding it. He hid it and took it to the shop. He drank the whole thing and passed out. When grandma found him, she thought that he had passed away. She called the paramedics and they traveled the 20 miles to Rogers, TX to check on him. He was in so much trouble.
One thing that he did do on the weekends was spend time with grandma. They wore out swing after swing just sitting in the backyard watching the birds just talking and swinging. They also wore out many swings just sitting in the front yard watching what little traffic would pass. They waved at every car, whether they knew them or not. After he did pass, I would catch grandma out on the swing by herself. I would go swing with her and not a word would be spoken.
The other day, I caught myself looking for a swing for our front yard. It hit me what I have become. I am my father and my grandfather. The only difference is I might be a little more of a jerk. I did catch myself yelling at some kids the other day “GET OFF MY LAWN!” So this summer, my wife and I will be getting a swing and making memories of our own together in the front yard. Just swinging and waving at the traffic that goes by.